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Phasic venous flow variation with respiration is surrounded by controversy and not well understood. The current concept assigns a major role to the "abdominal pump." According to this model, inspiratory increases in abdominal pressure compress the vena cava, increasing its internal venous pressure and propelling blood upstream. Some have assigned a secondary role to the "thoracic pump," with the negative intrapleural pressure aiding blood flow toward the heart. The aim of the present study was to examine the phasic changes in flow, pressure, and volume in the central veins and named tributaries. Caliber area changes were measured using intravascular ultrasonography in 37 patients undergoing iliac vein stenting. The pressure was measured in 48 patients using transducer tip catheters with electronic zero calibration. Duplex ultrasound flow in the head and neck and truncal and limb veins during inspiration and expiration was measured in 15 normal volunteers. The caliber of the abdominal inferior vena cava had increased by 32% and its lateral pressure had decreased significantly during inspiration. Intravenous pressure in the central veins of the chest and right atrium was positive at 6 to 14 mm Hg. Negative pressures were rarely seen and then only transiently. The internal jugular vein displayed little phasic variation. The upper limb veins displayed weak inspiratory phasicity. Phase polarity was reversed in the lower limbs, with near flow stoppage during inspiration. These observations conflict with the current notions of venous flow phasicity, which are based on push-pull pressure changes in the abdominal and thoracic veins. The paradoxical inspiratory inferior vena cava caliber increase probably explains the concurrent pressure decrease. Sustained negative pressures in the thoracic central veins and right atrium did not occur. We have proposed an alternate hypothesis for venous flow phasicity based on alternate stretching and relaxation of the mobile section of the great veins with respiratory movement. Copyright © 2020 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Citation

Seshadri Raju, William Walker, Chandler Noel, Riley Kuykendall, Thomas Powell. An alternative explanation for the phasic variations in venous flow. Journal of vascular surgery. Venous and lymphatic disorders. 2021 Jul;9(4):977-986.e3


PMID: 33248298

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