Kussmaul sign

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 18 Jul 2021

Kussmaul sign is a clinical sign, seen as a paradoxical increase in the jugular venous pressure in response to inspiration. This is opposed to the normal physiological response of inspiration resulting in decreased jugular venous pressure 1.

Pathology

Etiology

This sign typically arises secondary to impaired right ventricular function or filling 2. There are several pathologies in which the sign may be observed: 

History and etymology

The sign is named after Adolf Kussmaul (1822-1902), a German physician who first described it in 1873 1

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