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Objectives—To determine blood flow velocities and indices from spectral waveforms obtained by use of Doppler ultrasonography of thoracic limb arteries of horses and to assess interobserver and patient variability associated with the technique.

Animals—9 clinically normal adult horses.

Procedure—Left thoracic limb arteries of 8 nonsedated horses were examined at 5 sites by use of pulsed-wave Doppler ultrasonography to determine a range of values for peak systolic, end diastolic, and mean velocities and resistive and pulsatility indices. Interobserver and patient variabilities were determined by 2 operators repeating similar measurements on 1 horse 8 times at weekly intervals.

Results—A range of values for each variable measured at the 5 selected sites was obtained. For each variable, strong positive correlations (R ≥ 0.7) were detected for > 70% of the site-to-site comparisons made (excluding the coronary band). Among horses, resistive index varied least, whereas over time, mean velocity varied least. Waveform characteristics were consistent with resistive (n = 5) or nonresistive (4) patterns. In the single-horse experiment, waveform characteristics were consistent throughout the 8 weeks, and operator effects were not detected.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Doppler ultrasonography of no one site resulted in more reliable measurements of blood flow characteristics in thoracic limb arteries of horses. Mean velocity and resistive index were the least variable measurements made. Pulsed-wave Doppler ultrasonography may be a useful technique for evaluating diseases that alter normal thoracic limb arterial blood flow in horses. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:183–)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association