SonoStudy: Flat IVC predictor of poor prognosis in trauma – A-B-C-D-Echo in Trauma!

A recent study on the IVC and trauma and acute surgical patients was done by Ferrada et al, and despite the giggles I get when I read it and how they describe the IVC as “Fat ” or “Flat”, it is an important topic to discuss as it is one of the few articles out there that correlate the iVC to trauma patients and acute surgical patients. First off, it is a retrospective study, which can make it difficult to assess patients with similar factors without other factors coming into play (but when is that NOT the case, honestly?) They did compare the IVC in all patients and studied those patients who seemed sick as well – ICU admission, immediate surgery need, transfusion needed. The power of the study was good but not great – 101 patients studied – varying in type of trauma and surgical need. There was a previous study published in the Journal of Trauma in 2011 that stated CT evidence of flat IVC was an indicator for hypovolemia and  poor prognostic indicator for blunt solid organ injuries – this confirmed a study done in 2010 stating the same thing. Thankfully, ultrasound can get you that information much more immediately than CT!

This month, another study by the same author (Ferrada) in the Journal of trauma and acute care surgery entitled A-B-C-D-Echo (I know, love it!) stated that adding limited transthoracic echo, including the IVC, will benefit trauma patients with results showing “Flat inferior vena cava was associated with an increased incidence of ICU admission (p < 0.0076) and therapeutic operation (p < 0.0001). Of the 148 patients, 27 (18%) had LTTE results indicating euvolemia. The diagnosis in these cases was head injury (n = 14), heart dysfunction (n = 5), spinal shock (n = 4), pulmonary embolism (n = 3), and stroke (n = 1). Of the patients, 121 had LTTE results indicating hypovolemia. Twenty-eight hypovolemic patients had a negative or inconclusive Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma examination finding (n = 18 penetrating, n = 10 blunt), with 60% having blood in the abdomen confirmed by surgical exploration or computed tomographic scan. Therapy was modified as a result of LTTE in 41% of cases. Strikingly, in patients older than 65 years, LTTE changed therapy in 96% of cases.”

Below are the Abstracts of the studies highlighted by Ferrada:

“Flat inferior vena cava (IVC) on ultrasound examination has been shown to correlate with hypovolemic status. We hypothesize that a flat IVC on limited echocardiogram (LTTE) performed in the emergency room (ER) correlates with poor prognosis in acutely ill surgical patients. We conducted a retrospective review of all patients undergoing LTTE in the ER from September 2010 until June 2011. IVC diameter was estimated by subxiphoid window. Flat IVC was defined as diameter less than 2 cm. Fat IVC was defined as diameter greater than 2 cm. Need for intensive care unit admission, blood transfusion requirement, mortality, and need for emergent operation between patients with flat versus Fat IVC were compared. One hundred one hypotensive patients had LTTE performed in the ER. Average age was 38 years. Admission diagnosis was blunt trauma (n = 80), penetrating trauma (n = 13), acute care surgery pathology (n = 7), and burn (n = 1). Seventy-four patients had flat IVC on initial LTTE. Compared with those with fat IVC, flat patients were found have higher rates of intensive care unit admission (51.3 vs 14.8%; P = 0.001), blood transfusion requirement (12.2 vs 3.7%), and mortality (13.5 vs 3.7%). This population also underwent emergent surgery on hospital Day 1 more often (16.2 vs 0%; P = 0.033). Initial flat IVC on LTTE is an indicator of hypovolemia and a predictor of poor outcome.”

ABCDEcho:

“BACKGROUND: Limited transthoracic echocardiogram (LTTE) has been introduced as a technique to direct resuscitation in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Our hypothesis is that LTTE can provide meaningful information to guide therapy for hypotension in the trauma bay.

METHODS: LTTE was performed on hypotensive patients in the trauma bay. Views obtained included parasternal long and short, apical, and subxyphoid. Results were reported regarding contractility (good vs. poor), fluid status (flat inferior vena cava [hypovolemia] vs. fat inferior vena cava [euvolemia]), and pericardial effusion (present vs. absent). Need for surgery, ICU admission, Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma examination results, and change in therapy as a consequence of LTTE findings were examined. Data were collected prospectively to evaluate the utility of this test.

RESULTS: A total of 148 LTTEs were performed in consecutive patients from January to December 2011. Mean age was 46 years. Admission diagnosis was 80% blunt trauma, 16% penetrating trauma, and 4% burn. Subxyphoid window was obtained in all patients. Parasternal and apical windows were obtained in 96.5% and 11%, respectively. Flat inferior vena cava was associated with an increased incidence of ICU admission (p < 0.0076) and therapeutic operation (p < 0.0001). Of the 148 patients, 27 (18%) had LTTE results indicating euvolemia. The diagnosis in these cases was head injury (n = 14), heart dysfunction (n = 5), spinal shock (n = 4), pulmonary embolism (n = 3), and stroke (n = 1). Of the patients, 121 had LTTE results indicating hypovolemia. Twenty-eight hypovolemic patients had a negative or inconclusive Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma examination finding (n = 18 penetrating, n = 10 blunt), with 60% having blood in the abdomen confirmed by surgical exploration or computed tomographic scan. Therapy was modified as a result of LTTE in 41% of cases. Strikingly, in patients older than 65 years, LTTE changed therapy in 96% of cases.

CONCLUSION: LTTE is a useful tool to guide therapy in hypotensive patients in the trauma bay.”

2 thoughts on “SonoStudy: Flat IVC predictor of poor prognosis in trauma – A-B-C-D-Echo in Trauma!

  1. Interesting stuff. Reaffirms the practice of always taking a quick peek at the IVC. Concerning that of the negative FASTs in hypotensive patients in the ABCD-Echo study 60% (!) had evidence of intraperitoneal bleeding. Would be interesting to see what happens with a larger n. Also, since I could not access the fulltext – who was performing FAST in the ED? Was it ED residents? Attendings? Surgery residents/attendings? Specialized ultrasound faculty?

Comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s