Comparison of subclavian vein to inferior vena cava collapsibility by ultrasound in acute heart failure: A pilot study


Aurora Cardiovascular and Thoracic Services, Aurora Sinai/Aurora St. Luke's Medical Centers


Background: Management of acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) requires accurate assessment of relative intravascular volume, which may be technically challenging. Inferior vena cava (IVC) collapsibility with respiration reflects intravascular volume and right atrial pressure (RAP). Subclavian vein (SCV) collapsibility may provide an alternative.

Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between SCV collapsibility index (CI) and IVC CI in ADHF.

Methods: This was a prospective study of non-ventilated patients with ADHF who had paired IVC and SCV ultrasound assessments. As SCV CI is highly position-dependent, measurements were performed supine at 30-45°.

Results: Thirty-three patients were included with 36 encounters. The sample size was adequately powered for receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) analysis. SCV CI correlated with IVC CI during relaxed breathing (R = .65, n = 36, p < .001) and forced inhalation (R = .47, n = 36, p = .0036). SCV CI < 22% and >33% corresponded to IVC CI < 20% and >50% suggesting hypervolemia (sensitivity/specificity: 72%) and hypovolemia (sensitivity/specificity: 78%), respectively. Moderate to severe tricuspid regurgitation (TR) compared to less than moderate TR was associated with lower SCV CI (medians: 12.4% vs. 25.3%, p = .022) and IVC CI (medians: 9.6% vs. 35.6%, p = .0012). SCV CI and IVC CI were not significantly different among chronic kidney disease stages.

Conclusion: In non-ventilated ADHF, SCV CI at 30-45° correlates with paired IVC CI, and may provide an alternative to IVC CI for assessment of relative intravascular volume, which may facilitate clinical management. Moderate to severe TR decreases SCV CI and IVC CI and may result in overestimation of relative intravascular volume.



PubMed ID


Link to Full Text