Correlations between pulmonary artery pressures and inferior vena cava collapsibility in critically ill surgical patients: An exploratory study

Stanislaw Stawicki, Thomas Papadimos, David Bahner, David Evans, Christian Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: As pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) use declines, search continues for reliable and readily accessible minimally invasive hemodynamic monitoring alternatives. Although the correlation between inferior vena cava collapsibility index (IVC-CI) and central venous pressures (CVP) has been described previously, little information exists regarding the relationship between IVC-CI and pulmonary artery pressures (PAPs). The goal of this study is to bridge this important knowledge gap. We hypothesized that there would be an inverse correlation between IVC-CI and PAPs. Methods: A post hoc analysis of prospectively collected hemodynamic data was performed, examining correlations between IVC-CI and PAPs in a convenience sample of adult Surgical Intensive Care Unit patients. Concurrent measurements of IVC-CI and pulmonary arterial systolic (PAS), pulmonary arterial diastolic (PAD), and pulmonary arterial mean (PAM) pressures were performed. IVC-CI was calculated as ([IVC max - IVC min]/IVC max) × 100%. Vena cava measurements were obtained by ultrasound-credentialed providers. For the purpose of correlative analysis, PAP measurements (PAS, PAD, and PAM) were grouped by terciles while the IVC-CI spectrum was divided into thirds (<33, 33-65, ≥66). Results: Data from 34 patients (12 women, 22 men, with median age of 59.5 years) were analyzed. Median Acute Physiologic Assessment and Chronic Health Evaluation II score was 9. A total of 76 measurement pairs were recorded, with 57% (43/76) obtained in mechanically ventilated patients. Correlations between IVC-CI and PAS (rs = -0.334), PAD (rs = -0.305), and PAM (rs = -0.329) were poor. Correlations were higher between CVP and PAS (R2 = 0.61), PAD (R2 = 0.68), and PAM (R2 = 0.70). High IVC-CI values (≥66%) consistently correlated with measurements in the lowest PAP ranges. Across all PAP groups (PAS, PAD, and PAM), there were no differences between the mean measurement values for the lower and middle IVC-CI ranges (0%-65%). However, all three groups had significantly lower mean measurement values for the ≥66% IVC-CI group. Conclusions: Low PAS, PAD, and PAM measurements show a reasonable correlation with high IVC-CI (≥66%). These findings are consistent with previous descriptions of the relationship between IVC-CI and CVP. Additional research in this area is warranted to better describe the hemodynamic relationship between IVC-CI and PAPs, with the goal of further reduction in the reliance on the use of PACs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-199
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Critical Illness and Injury Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Comparison study
  • correlations
  • inferior vena cava collapsibility index
  • pulmonary artery catheter
  • pulmonary artery pressures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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