1. A thermodilution method was developed for the determination of human leg blood flow. The method is based on bolus injection of an indicator distally into the femoral vein, at room temperature, and recording of the dilution curve in the same vessel at the level of the inguinal ligament. The blood flow was computed automatically with two thermistors and an integrator.
2. The leg blood flow determined by this method at rest and during exercise at work loads of 50, 100 and 150 W in six healthy subjects was found to agree closely with measurements by an intraarterial indicator-dilution technique. A linear relationship was found between leg blood flow and work. The reproducibility of the blood flow determinations, expressed as the coefficient of variation for a single determination, was 12·9 at rest and 5·3 or less during exercise.
3. The method was used in two patients with occlusive arterial disease of the leg. Extremely low leg blood flows were found in these patients when they were forced to interrupt the exercise by severe calf pain.