[Ultrasonography of the inferior vena cava (IVC) in the diagnosis and monitoring of therapy in patients with chronic congestive heart failure]

S Hollerbach, K Schultze, M Muscholl, J Schölmerich
Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift 2001 February 9, 126 (6): 129-33

OBJECTIVE: This prospective clinical study investigated whether the relatively simple and cost-effective ultrasonography of the inferior vena cava (IVC) represents a valid clinical tool to assess the effectiveness of diuretic therapy in patients with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF).

METHODS: Measurement of the resting and inspiratory diameter of the VCI repeatedly during diuretic therapy in 23 consecutive patients (11 women, 70 +/- 10 years) with CHF and comparing the results to the daily measured body weight and serum creatinine in these patients. Results were compared with the IVC diameter obtained in 33 healthy controls (16 women, 42 +/- 15 years). In addition, the IVC collapse index was calculated to assess inspiratory movements of the IVC in patients on day 1 and 10 of therapy.

RESULTS: The IVC diameter at rest was 2.4 +/- 0.6 cm and decreased to 2.0 +/- 0.7 cm at inspiration, which was significantly greater than in healthy controls (1.4 +/- 0.4 cm at rest and 1.05 +/- 0.5 cm at inspiration; p = 0.008 and p = 0.01, respectively). The IVC diameter decreased continuously and significantly (p < 0.003) from day 1 to day 10 during diuretic therapy without a concomitant rise in serum creatinine. At beginning of therapy, the collapse-index of the IVC was significantly greater in patients than in controls. However, after 10 days of therapy this index reached similar values to those observed in controls.

CONCLUSION: Ultrasonographic measurements of IVC diameter and inspiratory movements are a quantifiable and reliable approach to assess the hypervolemia associated with CHF. Normalization of inspiratory IVC collapse movement correlates with successful diuretic therapy and can be reliably used for bedside assessment and monitoring treatment in CHF patients.

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