Noninvasive optical quantification of absolute blood flow, blood oxygenation, and oxygen consumption rate in exercising skeletal muscle

Katelyn Gurley, Yu Shang, Guoqiang Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


This study investigates a method using novel hybrid diffuse optical spectroscopies [near-infrared spectros-copy (NIRS) and diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS)] to obtain continuous, noninvasive measurement of absolute blood flow (BF), blood oxygenation, and oxygen consumption rate (V- O 2) in exercising skeletal muscle. Healthy subjects (n = 9) performed a handgrip exercise to increase BF and V- O2 in forearm flexor muscles, while a hybrid optical probe on the skin surface directly monitored oxy-, deoxy-, and total hemoglobin concentrations ([HbO2], [Hb], and THC), tissue oxygen saturation (StO2), relative BF (rBF), and relative oxygen consumption rate (rV- O2). The rBF and rV-O 2 signals were calibrated with absolute baseline BF and V-O 2 obtained through venous and arterial occlusions, respectively. Known problems with muscle-fiber motion artifacts in optical measurements during exercise were mitigated using a novel gating algorithm that determined muscle contraction status based on control signals from a dynamometer. Results were consistent with previous findings in the literature. This study supports the application of NIRS/DCS technology to quantitatively evaluate hemodynamic and metabolic parameters in exercising skeletal muscle and holds promise for improving diagnosis and treatment evaluation for patients suffering from diseases affecting skeletal muscle and advancing fundamental understanding of muscle and exercise physiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number075010
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the National Institutes of Health for support from NIH-R21AG034279. We also thank Dr. Tim Uhl for his technical assistance with dynamometer operation, and for volunteering his lab space.


  • Diffuse correlation spectroscopy
  • Handgrip exercise
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Noninvasive measurement
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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