Brief Reports

Hospitalists' ability to use hand‐carried ultrasound for central venous pressure estimation after a brief training intervention: A pilot study



Access to hand‐carried ultrasound technology for noncardiologists has increased significantly, yet development and evaluation of training programs are limited.


We studied a focused program to teach hospitalists image acquisition of inferior vena cava (IVC) diameter and IVC collapsibility index with interpretation of estimated central venous pressure (CVP).


Ten hospitalists completed an online educational module prior to attending a 1‐day in‐person training session that included directly supervised IVC imaging on volunteer subjects. In addition to making quantitative assessments, hospitalists were also asked to visually assess whether the IVC collapsed more than 50% during rapid inspiration or a sniff maneuver. Skills in image acquisition and interpretation were assessed immediately after training on volunteer patients and prerecorded images, and again on volunteer patients at least 6 weeks later.


Eight of 10 hospitalists acquired adequate IVC images and interpreted them correctly on 5 of the 5 volunteer subjects and interpreted all 10 prerecorded images correctly at the end of the 1‐day training session. At 7.4 ± 0.7 weeks (range, 6.9–8.6 weeks) follow‐up, 9 of 10 hospitalists accurately acquired and interpreted all IVC images in 5 of 5 volunteers. Hospitalists were also able to accurately determine whether the IVC collapsibility index was more than 50% by visual assessment in 180 of 198 attempts (91% of the time).


After a brief training program, hospitalists acquired adequate skills to perform and interpret hand‐carried ultrasound IVC images and retained these skills in the near term. Though calculation of the IVC collapsibility index is more accurate, coupling a qualitative assessment with the IVC maximum diameter measurement may be acceptable in aiding bedside estimation of CVP. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2013;8:711–714. © 2013 Society of Hospital Medicine

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