Bedside assessment of intravascular volume status plays an important role in the management of critically ill patients, guiding fluid replacement therapy and the use of vasopressor agents. Despite controversy in the existing evidence, many clinicians advocate the use of inferior vena cava ultrasound (IVC-US) in the assessment of intravascular volume status in critically ill patients. Respirophasic variation in IVC diameter may provide useful information regarding intravascular volume status, particularly in patients with high and low caval indices. However, due to conflicting results of small-scale clinical trials of divergent sample populations, there is insufficient evidence to support routine US assessment of the IVC to determine fluid responsiveness in spontaneous breathing with circulatory compromise. Additional large-scale clinical trials are required to determine the accuracy of IVC-US measurements in diverse populations and to ascertain the effects on IVC dimensions that result from cardiac dysfunction and intra-abdominal hypertension.