Diaphragm excursions as proxy for tidal volume during spontaneous breathing in invasively ventilated ICU patients

Matthijs L. Janssen, Annemijn H. Jonkman, Myrte Wennen, Evert Jan Wils, Henrik Endeman, Leo Heunks*

*Corresponding author for this work

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There is a need to monitor tidal volume in critically ill patients with acute respiratory failure, given its relation with adverse clinical outcome. However, quantification of tidal volume in non-intubated patients is challenging. In this proof-of-concept study, we evaluated whether ultrasound measurements of diaphragm excursion could be a valid surrogate for tidal volume in patients with respiratory failure. Diaphragm excursions and tidal volumes were simultaneously measured in invasively ventilated patients (N = 21) and healthy volunteers (N = 20). Linear mixed models were used to estimate the ratio between tidal volume and diaphragm excursion. The tidal volume–diaphragm excursion ratio was 201 mL/cm in ICU patients [95% confidence interval (CI) 161–240 mL/cm], and 361 (294–428) mL/cm in healthy volunteers. An excellent association was shown within participants (R 2 = 0.96 in ICU patients, R 2 = 0.90 in healthy volunteers). However, the differences between observed tidal volume and tidal volume as predicted by the linear mixed models were considerable: the 95% limits of agreement in Bland–Altman plots were ± 91 mL in ICU patients and ± 396 mL in healthy volunteers. Likewise, the variability in tidal volume estimation between participants was large. This study shows that diaphragm excursions measured with ultrasound correlate with tidal volume, yet quantification of absolute tidal volume from diaphragm excursion is unreliable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number73
JournalIntensive Care Medicine Experimental
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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