Cardiac, Respiratory and Postural Influences on Venous Return of Internal Jugular and Vertebral Veins

Maria Marcella Laganà, Marco Di Rienzo, Francesco Rizzo, Cristian Ricci, Sara D'Onofrio, Leonardo Forzoni, Pietro Cecconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is known from physiology that heartbeat and respiration influence venous return, but little is known regarding the extent to which these two factors affect flow. In this study, we estimated the prevalence of cardiac- and breathing-induced venous flow modulations in the internal jugular vein (IJV) and vertebral vein (VV) and the effects of posture. In 19 healthy patients, neck vein flow was examined with pulsed wave Doppler. Electrocardiogram and respiratory signals were simultaneously acquired. In supine position, heart contraction always influenced venous flow, whereas breathing influenced 68% of IJV and 34% of VV flow. In sitting position, heart contraction influenced 74% of IJV and 42% of VV flow; breathing influenced 68% of IJV and 61% of VV measures. Thus, cardiac influence is greatly present in supine position, whereas breathing influence prevails in the VV while sitting. This setup allowed us to observe that in some patients, expiration may cause an unexpected increase in venous flow.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Early online dateApr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 2017


  • Blood flow velocity
  • Jugular vein
  • Pulsed Doppler ultrasonography
  • Ultrasound imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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