Intra- and Inter-rater Reliability of Peripheral Arterial Blood Flow Velocity by Means of Doppler Ultrasound

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Although it is possible to find studies that analyze the velocity of blood flow in different arteries, the reliability of Doppler ultrasound on peripheral arteries has not yet been completely established. Our objective was to evaluate intra- and inter-rater reliability of the measurement of blood flow velocity by Doppler ultrasound of brachial, radial, popliteal, and posterior tibial arteries.


Fifty healthy individuals of both genders, aged between 18 and 45 years, were included in the study. For the evaluation of arterial blood flow velocity, a portable Doppler ultrasound device was used to measure the mean and maximum blood flow velocity of posterior tibial, popliteal, brachial, and radial arteries. Two examiners performed assessments of the same volunteers independently and twice, with an interval of 1 week between them.


We found good to very good reliability for measuring the mean and maximum blood flow velocity of the arteries evaluated. The intraclass correlation coefficients ranged between 0.501 and 0.866, standard error of measurement ranged between 0.81 and 9.45 cm/s, and minimum detectable change ranged between 2.25 and 26.13 cm/s.


The assessment of mean and maximum blood flow velocity of the brachial, radial, popliteal, and posterior tibial arteries by means of Doppler ultrasound presents acceptable reliability values, which supports the use of this evaluation method in research and clinical practice.

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