Comparison of passive leg raising and hyperemia on macrovascular and microvascular responses.

Microvascular research

PubMedID: 23261755

Bapat M, Musikantow D, Khmara K, Chokshi P, Khanna N, Galligan S, Kamran H, Salciccioli L, Barone FC, Lazar JM. Comparison of passive leg raising and hyperemia on macrovascular and microvascular responses. Microvasc Res. 2013;8630-3.
Passive leg raising is a simple diagnostic maneuver that has been proposed as a measure of arterial vasodilator reserve and possibly endothelial function. While passive leg raising has previously been shown to lower blood pressure, increase flow velocity and cause brachial artery dilation, its effects on microvascular flow has not been well studied. Also, passive leg raising has been directly compared previously to upper arm but never to lower arm occlusion of blood flow induced hyperemia responses. We compared changes in macrovascular indices measured by brachial artery ultrasound and microvascular perfusion measured by Laser Doppler Flowmetry induced by passive leg raising to those provoked by upper arm and lower arm induced hyperemia in healthy subjects. Upper arm induced hyperemia increased mean flow velocity by 398%, induced brachial artery dilatation by 16.3%, and increased microvascular perfusion by 246% (p<.05 for all). Lower arm induced hyperemia increased flow velocity by 227%, induced brachial artery dilatation by 10.8%, and increased microvascular perfusion by 281%. Passive leg raising increased flow velocity by 29% and brachial artery dilatation by 5.6% (p<.05 for all), but did not change microvascular perfusion (-5%, p=ns). In conclusion, passive leg raising increases flow velocity orders of magnitude less than does upper arm or lower arm induced hyperemia. Passive leg raising-induced brachial artery dilatation is less robust than either of these hyperemic techniques. Finally, although upper arm and lower arm hyperemia elicits macrovascular and microvascular responses, passive leg raising elicits only macrovascular responses.