Near-Infrared Spectroscopy During Reactive Hyperemia for the Assessment of Lower Limb Vascular Function


Vascular diseases of the lower limb contribute substantially to the global burden of cardiovascular disease and comorbidities such as diabetes. Importantly, microvascular dysfunction can occur prior to, or alongside, macrovascular pathology, and both potentially contribute to patient symptoms and disease burden. Here, we describe a non-invasive approach using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) during reactive hyperemia, which provides a standardized assessment of lower limb vascular (dys)function and a potential method to evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. Unlike alternative methods, such as contrast-enhanced ultrasound, this approach does not require venous access or sophisticated image analysis, and it is inexpensive and less operator-dependent. This description of the NIRS method includes representative results and standard terminology alongside the discussion of measurement considerations, limitations, and alternative methods. Future application of this work will improve standardization of vascular research design, data collection procedures, and harmonized reporting, thereby enhancing translational research outcomes in the areas of lower limb vascular (dys)function, disease, and treatment.

Journal of Visualized Experiments