Measuring muscle blood flow: A key link between systemic and regional metabolism

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: To provide a brief overview of the main techniques to measure muscle blood flow in humans and highlight some of the strengths and weaknesses associated with each technique. Recent Findings: Peak muscle blood flow values of 300 ml/min per 100 g are possible in humans during heavy exercise performed with small muscle mass. This value is far higher than that which appears in most textbooks. Accurate and reliable techniques are therefore essential in measuring muscle blood flow. Current invasive techniques commonly used include indicator dilution (thermodilution and dye dilution) and radiolabel tracer washout (e.g. Xe washout) methods. Although invasive techniques have provided valuable insight into tissue blood flow, noninvasive techniques such as venous occlusion plethysmography and Doppler ultrasound are frequently used and provide accurate measurements of blood flow. Newer imaging techniques (MRI, positron emission tomography, and contrast-enhanced ultrasonography) promise increased resolution of measurements of local blood flow, including in discrete tissues in which more classical techniques are not able to be used. Summary: Muscle blood flow is a key link in the interplay and regulation of systemic and local muscle metabolism. Recognizing the advantages and limitations of each technique is essential to translational researchers studying the effects of nutrition and metabolism on muscle blood flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-586
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Doppler ultrasound
  • Indictor dilution
  • Muscle blood flow
  • Plethysmography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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