Inferior vena cava dilation predicts global cardiac dysfunction in acute respiratory distress syndrome: A strain echocardiographic study

Romel Garcia-Montilla, Srini Mukundan, Stephen Heitner, Akram Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Limited data exist on the utility of ultrasonographic evaluation of inferior vena cava (IVC) in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). We studied the value of IVC diameter in assessing cardio-circulatory performance in ARDS using strain echocardiography. Materials and Methods: Retrospective cross-sectional analysis of Doppler echocardiograms of patients with moderate–severe ARDS was performed. Right ventricle (RV) parameters, IVC diameter, and left ventricle (LV) systolic and diastolic parameters were collected. RV free wall strain (RVFWS) and LV global longitudinal strain (LVGLS) were calculated. Results: Fifty-one patients were dichotomized into two groups: with IVC > 2.1 cm (dilated) and with IVC ≤ 2.1 cm (nondilated). The dilated IVC group presented worse hypoxemic profile, hypotension, and poor perfusion markers. No significant associations with positive end-expiratory pressure or lung mechanics were observed. Dilated IVC was associated with impaired RV function, high central venous pressure, elevated pulmonary artery pressure, and LV systolic and diastolic dysfunctions. Strongest predictors of a dilated IVC were RVFWS, LVGLS, and tissue Doppler mitral annular early diastolic velocity. Dilated IVC predicted a global cardiac dysfunction defined by strain echocardiography (GCDS) with high sensitivity and specificity. Conclusions: In ARDS, strain echocardiography analyses demonstrated that a dilated IVC is associated with GCDS and impaired hemodynamics independent of lung mechanics. A dilated IVC should be considered a marker of circulatory distress, signaling the potential necessity for improved hemodynamic optimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-248
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • cardiac dysfunction
  • inferior vena cava dilation
  • strain echocardiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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