Kussmaul's sign is the observation of a jugular venous pressure (JVP, the filling of the jugular vein) that rises with inspiration. It can be seen in some forms of heart disease. It is usually indicative of right ventricular dysfunction along with hypotension and "dry lungs" (absence of pulmonary edema).
Ordinarily the JVP falls with inspiration due to reduced pressure in the expanding thoracic cavity. Kussmaul's sign suggests impaired filling of the right ventricle due to either fluid in the pericardial space or a poorly compliant myocardium or pericardium. This impaired filling causes the increased blood flow to back up into the venous system, causing the jugular distension.
Possible causes of Kussmaul's sign include:
- Constrictive pericarditis
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy
- Pericardial effusion or Cardiac tamponade (Although usually with tamponade, KS is negative ).
- Right ventricular infarction
- Right heart failure
- cardiac tumours
- Tricuspid stenosis
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