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Monitoring the venous circulation: novel techniques and applications.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Venous pressure is an often-unrecognized cause of patient morbidity. However, bedside assessment of PV is challenging. We review the clinical significance of venous pressure measurement, existing techniques, and introduce the Venous Excess Ultrasound (VExUS) Score as a novel approach using doppler ultrasound to assess venous pressure.

RECENT FINDINGS: Studies show clear associations between elevated venous pressure and adverse outcomes in critically ill patients. Current venous pressure measurement techniques include physical examination, right heart catheterization (RHC), two-dimensional ultrasound, and a variety of labor-intensive research-focused physiological maneuvers. Each of these techniques have specific shortcomings, limiting their clinical utility. To address these gaps, Beaubien-Souligny et al. introduced the VExUS Score, a novel doppler ultrasound-based method that integrates IVC diameter with doppler measurements of the hepatic, portal, and renal veins to generate a venous congestion assesment. Studies show strong correlations between VExUS score and RHC measurements, and well as an association between VExUS score and improvement in cardiorenal acute kidney injury, diuretic response, and fluid status shifts. However, studies in noncardiac populations have been small, heterogenous, and inconclusive.

SUMMARY: Early studies evaluating the use of doppler ultrasound to assess venous congestion show promise, but further research is needed in diverse patient populations and clinical settings.

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