Flow mediated dilation of the brachial artery: An investigation of methods requiring further standardization

Alon Peretz, Daniel F. Leotta, Jeffrey H. Sullivan, Carol A. Trenga, Fiona N. Sands, Mary R. Aulet, Marla Paun, Edward A. Gill, Joel D. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In order to establish a consistent method for brachial artery reactivity assessment, we analyzed commonly used approaches to the test and their effects on the magnitude and time-course of flow mediated dilation (FMD), and on test variability and repeatability. As a popular and noninvasive assessment of endothelial function, several different approaches have been employed to measure brachial artery reactivity with B-mode ultrasound. Despite some efforts, there remains a lack of defined normal values and large variability in measurement technique. Methods: Twenty-six healthy volunteers underwent repeated brachial artery diameter measurements by B-mode ultrasound. Following baseline diameter recordings we assessed endothelium-dependent flow mediated dilation by inflating a blood pressure cuff either on the upper arm (proximal) or on the forearm (distal). Results: Thirty-seven measures were performed using proximal occlusion and 25 with distal occlusion. Following proximal occlusion relative to distal occlusion, FMD was larger (16.2 ± 1.2% vs. 7.3 ± 0.9%, p < 0.0001) and elongated (107.2 s vs. 67.8 s, p = 0.0001). Measurement of the test repeatability showed that differences between the repeated measures were greater on average when the measurements were done using the proximal method as compared to the distal method (2.4%; 95% CI 0.5-4.3; p = 0.013). Conclusion: These findings suggest that forearm compression holds statistical advantages over upper arm compression. Added to documented physiological and practical reasons, we propose that future studies should use forearm compression in the assessment of endothelial function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
StatePublished - 21 Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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