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Ultrasound Med Biol. 1998 Oct;24(8):1079-86.

Lower extremity volumetric arterial blood flow in normal subjects.

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Department of Radiology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, OH, USA.


The objective of this clinical study was to establish normal values for volumetric blood flow in the leg at rest using Doppler ultrasound, and to determine what biophysical factors influence resting volumetric flow. Arterial blood flow was measured at four sites in the legs of 40 healthy subjects using an ATL Ultramark 9 HDI system. All subjects were nonhypertensive nonsmokers with ankle brachial index values greater than 1 and no history of vascular disease. The subjects, 20 of each gender, in age ranging from 20 to 64 y were examined. Blood flow was calculated from the time-averaged, intensity-weighted mean velocity Doppler waveforms and vessel cross-sectional area at the same site. Thigh and calf circumference measurements were used to estimate muscle masses. The mean flow and standard error measured in four arteries in the leg were: 284+/-21 mL/min in the common femoral (CFA); 152+/-10 mL/min in the superficial femoral (SFA); 72+/-5 mL/min in the popliteal; and 3+/-1 mL/min in the dorsalis pedis. Although women tended to have higher time-averaged mean velocities in the CFA and SFA than men (t-test, p < 0.008), their arterial cross-sectional areas tended to be smaller (t-test, p < 0.004) and no statistically significant difference was found between men and women in volumetric flow at any site. No correlation was found between age, weight, height, muscle mass and volumetric flow at all four sites. These estimates of lower extremity volumetric flow in healthy subjects provide a baseline for future studies of flow rates in patients with vascular disease.

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