The effect of supine versus upright patient positioning on inferior vena cava metrics

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BackgroundUltrasound of the inferior vena cava (IVC) is a noninvasive and rapidly obtainable method of intravascular volume assessment; however not all patients can lie supine for this procedure. In this study we assess whether patient positioning affects IVC diameter metrics.MethodsThis was a prospective convenience sample of patients in an in-patient dialysis unit at an urban tertiary care center. IVC metrics taken in the supine patient, and then at 45o semi-upright position, pre and post dialysis. Measurements were taken in M-mode in longitudinal plane roughly 2 cm below the level of the diaphragm. IVC-maximum and IVC-minimum diameter measurements were used to determine the IVC collapse index (IVC Max − IVC Min)/IVC Max). Statistics such as means, frequencies and percentages, intraclass correlation coefficient and Bland Altman summary statistics were calculated.ResultsForty-five patients were enrolled. Average age was 57 years, 69% were male, 73% were African American, 82% had hypertension, 42% had diabetes. There was good to excellent agreement between supine and upright IVC measurements. Both the IVC minimum and maximum measurements had similar coefficient correlation (ri) measurements (0.917 and 0.890 respectively), whereas agreement in the collapse index was lower (ri = 0.813). Bland Altman analysis demonstrated excellent agreement and small 95% limits of agreement (±6 mm) with minimal mean bias for both the minimum and maximum measurements.ConclusionIVC metrics do not change significantly based on patient position. For those patients who are unable to lay completely supine, a semi-upright measurement of the IVC for volume status may be an accurate alternative.

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