Direct and indirect methods used to study arterial blood pressure

J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods. Sep-Oct 2000;44(2):361-73. doi: 10.1016/s1056-8719(00)00126-x.


A number of different approaches exist for assessing blood pressure in experimental animals. Here, we briefly consider the traditional indirect (rodent tail-cuff) and direct (saline-filled catheter) methods of blood pressure measurement before going on to describe our experience with blood pressure telemetry in rabbits, rats, and mice. Blood pressure telemetry offers the ability to obtain a high-fidelity recording of blood pressure continuously, for relatively long periods of time, in conscious, freely moving animals, without the limitations of restraint or anaesthesia. Since some drift in telemeter offset and sensitivity are inevitable, recalibration of the telemeter devices immediately before implantation and following explantation is essential to ensure and document the accuracy of the blood pressure measurements. For long-term implantations, verification of the calibration can be performed in vivo, at least in the case of large animals, such as rabbits. Telemetry devices suitable for small animals, such as mice, are also available now, which will facilitate the accurate characterization of blood pressure in transgenic animals. Telemeter implantation methods in mice are presently difficult, with relatively low success rates being reported. However, validation of new methods, such as the insertion of the catheter tip via the carotid artery, may make the technique more widely accessible in the near future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Calibration
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Telemetry*