Utility of transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) in assessing fluid responsiveness in critically ill patients – a challenge for the bedside sonographer.

Wojciech Mielnicki, Agnieszka Dyla, Tomasz Zawada


Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) has become one of the most important diagnostic tools in the treatment of critically ill patients. It allows clinicians to recognise potentially reversible life-threatening situations and is also very effective in the monitoring of the fluid status of patients, slowly substituting invasive methods in the intensive care unit. Hemodynamic assessment is based on a few static and dynamic parameters. Dynamic parameters change during the respiratory cycle in mechanical ventilation and the level of this change directly corresponds to fluid responsiveness. Most of the parameters cannot be used in spontaneously breathing patients. For these patients the most important test is passive leg raising, which is a good substitute for fluid bolus. Although TTE is very useful in the critical care setting, we should not forget the important limitations, not only technical ones but also caused by the critical illness itself. Unfortunately, this method does not allow continuous monitoring and every change in the patient’s condition requires repeated examination.



hypovolaemia; non-invasive monitoring; intensive care unit; transthoracic echocardiography

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11152/mu-880


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