Usefulness of inferior vena cava ultrasonography in outpatients with chronic heart failure

Jose Curbelo, Maria Aguilera, Pablo Rodriguez-Cortes, Paloma Gil-Martinez, Carmen Suarez Fernandez
Clinical Cardiology 2018, 41 (4): 510-517

BACKGROUND: Inferior vena cava (IVC) ultrasonography has been used for the diagnosis and prognosis of acute heart failure (HF). Its usefulness in chronic HF is less known.

HYPOTHESIS: IVC ultrasonography is a useful tool in the care of patients with chronic HF.

METHODS: For this prospective cohort study, 95 patients with chronic HF were included consecutively as they attended scheduled medical visits. Ultrasound was done with a 5-MHz convex probe device, calculating IVC collapse index (IVCCI). Follow-up time was 1 year. Outcome events were worsening HF, hospital admission for HF, HF mortality, and all-cause mortality.

RESULTS: Worsening HF occurred in 70.9% of patients with IVCCI <30% and 39.1% of patients with IVCCI >50%, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 2.8 (95% CI: 1.3-6.2) adjusted by multivariable analysis. Regarding hospitalization, 45.3% of patients with IVCCI <30% required admission, compared with 5.9% of patients with IVCCI >50%; the adjusted HR was 13.9 (95% CI: 1.7-113.0). Mortality was higher in the IVCCI <30% group, with 25.7% all-cause mortality and 18.6% HF mortality, whereas in the IVCCI >50% group these values were 13% and 4.7%, respectively. However, these differences did not reach statistical significance. ROC analysis was performed and the AUC for IVCCI was not higher than that for NTproBNP for any of the outcomes studied.

CONCLUSIONS: IVC ultrasonography is a useful tool in follow-up of patients with chronic HF, allowing identification of patients at high risk of worsening and hospitalization. However, its usefulness is not higher than that of NTproBNP.

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