Introduction: Quantification of blood flow to muscle using ultrasound is limited to large vessels. Small vessel intramuscular blood flow cannot be quantified using ultrasound without specialized methods or intravenous contrast. Methods: We describe a technique using power Doppler to quantify postcontraction hyperemia in intramuscular vessels that can be used at the bedside. Results: In 11 healthy subjects, postcontraction intramuscular blood flow in the forearm flexors and tibialis anterior muscles increased with stronger and repeated contractions. Intravascular blood flow measured by pulsed Doppler in the brachial artery similarly increased. Three patients with muscular dystrophies showed a negligible increase of postcontraction intramuscular blood flow. Conclusions: Intramuscular blood flow can be quantified using power Doppler ultrasonography; it increases following contraction and may be reduced in patients with muscular dystrophies. This quantitative, noninvasive technique can be applied at the bedside and may facilitate studies of disease impact on intramuscular blood flow. Muscle Nerve 54: 872–878, 2016.
- blood flow