Measurement of the exercising blood flow during rhythmical muscle contractions assessed by Doppler ultrasound: Methodological considerations


Given the recent technological developments, ultra-sound Doppler can provide valuable measurements of arterial blood flow with high temporal resolution. In a clinical setting, measurements of hemodynamics is used to monitor, diagnose and manage changes in blood velocity profile for cardiac valve disease, relatively large vessel stenosis and other cardiovascular diseases. In health science and preventive medicine for cardiovascular disease with exercise therapy, evaluation of cardiac and vascular function is a useful indicator not only at rest but also during exercise, leading to improved exercise tolerance as well as physical activity. During exercise, the increase in oxygen uptake (calculated as product of arterial blood flow to the exercising limb and the arteriovenous oxygen difference) is directly proportional to the work performed. The increased oxygen demand is met through a central mechanism, an increase in cardiac output and blood pressure, as well as a peripheral mechanism, an increase in vascular conductance and oxygen extraction (major part in the whole exercising muscles) from the blood. Therefore, the determination of the local blood flow dynamics (potential oxygen supply) feeding to rhythmic muscle contractions can contribute to the understanding of the factors limiting the work capacity including, for instance the muscle metabolism, substance utilization and vasodilatation in the exercising muscle. Using non-invasive measures of pulsed Doppler ultrasound the validity of evaluating blood velocity/flow in the fore- arm or lower limb conduit artery feeding to the mus- cle is demonstrated during rhythmic muscle exercise; however the exercising blood velocity profile (fast Fourier transformation) due to muscle contractions is

always seen as a physiological variability or fluctuations in the magnitude in blood velocity due to the spontaneous muscle contraction and relaxation induced changes in force curve intensity. Considering the above mentioned variation in blood velocity in relation to muscle contractions may provide valuable information for evaluating the blood flow dynamics during exercise. This review presents the methodological concept that underlines the methodological considerations for determining the exercising blood velocity/flow in the limb conduit artery in relation the exercise model of dynamic leg exercise assessed by pulsed Doppler ultrasonography.

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Osada, T. , Saltin, B. , Mortensen, S. and Rådegran, G. (2012) Measurement of the exercising blood flow during rhythmical muscle contractions assessed by Doppler ultrasound: Methodological considerations. Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering, 5, 779-788. doi: 10.4236/jbise.2012.512A098.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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