Ultrasonography of the internal jugular vein in patients with dyspnea without jugular venous distention on physical examination

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Abstract

Study objective Accurate physical examination of patients with dyspnea is important. Jugular venous distention, however, can be difficult to assess in patients. The purpose of this case series is to serve as a pilot study of how ultrasonographic examination of the internal jugular vein compares with other measures of dyspnea. Methods This was a case series of 8 patients presenting with dyspnea without jugular venous distention on physical examination. Each patient underwent ultrasonographic examination of the internal jugular vein and inferior vena cava by an emergency physician sonographer blinded to all other clinical information after initial evaluation by another emergency physician for dyspnea. Results of ultrasonographic examination of the internal jugular vein and inferior vena cava were subsequently compared with initial emergency physician physical examination findings, initial chest radiography interpreted by radiologists, initial B-type natriuretic peptide levels, and final hospital discharge diagnosis. Results Ultrasonographic examination of the internal jugular vein compared more favorably with B-type natriuretic peptide levels and chest radiographic findings than ultrasonographic examination of the inferior vena cava in these patients with dyspnea but not jugular venous distention on physical examination. It was able to identify every patient diagnosed with cardiogenic pulmonary edema on hospital discharge. Conclusion Ultrasonographic examination of the internal jugular vein appears to be helpful in patients who present with dyspnea but do not have evidence of jugular venous distention on physical examination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-168
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004

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