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Venous Excess Doppler Ultrasound for the Nephrologist: Pearls and Pitfalls. Kidney Med 2022 Jul;4(7):100482



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The role of venous congestion in abnormal kidney function is being increasingly recognized. It is well known that unresolved congestion is associated with adverse kidney and overall outcomes in patients with heart failure. Similarly, any condition that leads to elevated central venous pressure, such as pulmonary hypertension, can result in impaired kidney perfusion by increasing its afterload. Point-of-care ultrasonography (POCUS) enables the clinician to objectively assess hemodynamics at the bedside and, thereby, guide patient management. Lung POCUS has received widespread attention in the recent past because of the relative ease of the technique, but it reflects only left heart pressures and not venous congestion. Although inferior vena cava POCUS is used to estimate right atrial pressure, its isolated use cannot demonstrate organ congestion. Moreover, it is associated with several technical and conceptual limitations. Recently, venous excess Doppler ultrasound has emerged as a tool to assess venous congestion at the organ level in real time. Severe flow abnormalities in hepatic, portal, and kidney parenchymal veins have shown to predict the risk of congestive kidney injury. In addition, it helps to objectively monitor the efficacy of decongestive therapy. In this review, we provide a brief overview of various components of venous excess Doppler ultrasound and share our perspective on incorporating this novel tool in nephrology practice.

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Koratala A, Reisinger N


Abhilash Koratala MD Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin