Nurse-Provided Lung and Inferior Vena Cava Assessment in Patients With Heart Failure

Georgios Zisis, Yang Yang, Quan Huynh, Kristyn Whitmore, Maria Lay, Leah Wright, Melinda J. Carrington, Thomas H. Marwick

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Residual congestion detected using handheld ultrasound may be associated with increased risk of readmission and death after hospitalization for acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF). However, effective application necessitates routine use by nonexperts delivering clinical care. Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the ability of heart failure (HF) nurses to deliver a predischarge lung and inferior vena cava (IVC) assessment (LUICA) to predict 90-day outcomes. Methods: In this multisite, prospective, observational study, HF nurses scanned 240 patients with ADHF (median age: 77 years; 56% men) using a 9-zone LUICA protocol. Obtained images were reviewed by independent nurses who were blinded to clinical characteristics and outcomes. Based on a B-line cut-off of 10, patients were dichotomized as congested (n = 115) or not congested (n = 125). Results: Congested patients were more likely to have previous cardiac operations, long-standing HF (>6 months), and renal impairment. At 90 days, HF readmission or mortality occurred in 42 congested patients (37%) compared with 18 noncongested patients (14%). Pulmonary congestion increased at 30-day (OR: 3.86; 95% CI: 1.65-8.99; P < 0.01) and 90-day (OR: 3.42; 95% CI: 1.82-6.4; P < 0.01) HF readmission or mortality risk and 90-day mortality (OR: 5.18; 95% CI: 1.44-18.69; P < 0.01). Pulmonary congestion increased the 90-day odds of HF readmission and/or death by 3.3- to 4.2-fold (P < 0.01), independent of demographics, HF characteristics, comorbidities, and event risk score. Over 90 days, days alive out of hospital were fewer (78.3 ± 21.4 days vs 85.5 ± 12.4 days; P < 0.01) in congested patients. Conclusions: LUICA can be a powerful tool for detection of predischarge residual congestion. HF nurses can obtain images and provide diagnostic reports that are predictive of ADHF outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-523
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2022


  • acute decompensated heart failure
  • B-lines
  • heart failure readmission
  • inferior vena cava
  • lung ultrasound

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