1. To determine whether a wrist cuff is necessary to measure the forearm blood flow correctly, we studied the effects of wrist cuff inflation to supra-venous and supra-systolic pressure values over a large range of forearm blood flow values: in the basal state, during post-occlusive hyperaemia of the hand, and during heating of the hand with warm air. Eleven healthy men participated, and the study was carried out at two different ambient temperatures of 20 and 25°C.
2. In the basal state, the measured forearm blood flow was lowest with the wrist cuff at supra-systolic pressure. With the wrist cuff at supra-venous pressure the forearm blood flow was also lower than with an uninflated cuff, but only significantly so when the basal forearm blood flow was higher (at a room temperature of 25°C).
3. During post-occlusive hyperaemia, inflating the wrist cuff to supra-systolic pressure produced the lowest forearm blood flow value at both room temperatures. In addition, with the wrist cuff at supra-venous pressure, forearm blood flow values were lower than with the uninflated cuff, but the supra-venous cuff pressure was clearly less efficient in excluding the hand blood flow than the supra-systolic cuff pressure.
4. During heating of the hand, both supra-systolic and supra-venous cuff pressures were effective in excluding the hand blood flow at both room temperatures. The forearm blood flow measured with the wrist cuff at supra-systolic pressure was lower than that measured with the wrist cuff at supra-venous pressure, but the difference was only significant at a room temperature of 20°C.
5. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that a wrist cuff at supra-systolic pressure is most appropriate for the exclusion of the hand circulation in order to measure the forearm blood flow correctly.