The performance of a new and simplified flow probe construction and the Iowa 545C-4 pulsed Doppler velocimeter was evaluated for measurement of blood flow over several months in small arteries of awake animals. Calibrations were performed over a wide range of intraluminal pressures and physiological flow velocities. Pressure-dependent differences in slope of the Doppler shift-volume flow relationship were detected in some probes. Signal strength was maintained at hematocrits > 10%. Distortion of pulsed Doppler signal peaks occurred in the conscious rabbit at peak aortic velocities, at which Reynold's number for turbulence was exceeded and the Doppler shift surpassed the Nyquist limit of 31.25 kHz for the velocimeter. Although the Doppler shift-volume flow relationship is linear at < 5 kHz, in some cases at higher Doppler shifts and blood flow velocities the relationship may become nonlinear, thus causing the volume flow rate to be underestimated by up to 38%. The cause of this phenomenon may be "aliasing" and/or the consequence of the range control capability of the velocimeter selectively sampling changing velocity profiles and flow disturbances in the central stream at higher velocities.
Journal of Applied Physiology Vol. 75, Issue 6, p. 2745-2754