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J Feline Med Surg. 2012 Dec;14(12):906-9. doi: 10.1177/1098612X12455023. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Comparison of how well conscious cats tolerate blood pressure measurement from the radial and coccygeal arteries.

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Oxford Cat Clinic, Oxford, UK.


Hypertension is a common condition of older cats and acquiring clinically relevant and repeatable blood pressure (BP) measurements in conscious cats is important in its diagnosis and management. The most common sites for indirect BP measurement in the cat are the radial artery (RA) and the coccygeal artery (CA) but, to date, there are no published data comparing how conscious cats tolerate BP measurements from these sites. A high-definition oscillometric BP monitor was used to measure BP in 30 cats admitted to a cat-only veterinary clinic for reasons other than hypertension. Systolic arterial pressure (SAP), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and diastolic arterial pressure (DAP) were measured using the RA and CA, alternating which site was used first. The number of failed attempts and total time to achieve six measurements was recorded. Measurement of BP using the CA was better tolerated than the RA, resulting in fewer failures and shorter total time required. SAP measurements were slightly higher from the CA compared with the RA, irrespective of which site was used first. There were no significant differences in MAP and DAP. The coccygeal artery appears to be the more appropriate site to use when measuring BP in conscious cats using this oscillometric machine. Further studies are required using alternative BP monitors, including Doppler machines, to establish whether this is a consistent finding. When measuring BP in cats the site used should be recorded and the same site used for all subsequent measurements from the same cat.

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