The volume flow rate of blood in the portal vein was measured using a duplex ultrasound system. The many errors inherent in the duplex method were assessed with particular reference to the portal vein and appropriate correction factors were obtained by in vitro calibration. The effect of posture on flow was investigated by examining 45 healthy volunteers in three different positions; standing, supine and tilted head down at 20 degrees from the horizontal. The mean volume blood flow in the supine position was 864 (188)ml/min (mean 1SD). When standing, the mean volume blood flow was significantly reduced by 26% to 662 (169)ml/min. There was, however, no significant difference between flow when supine and when tilted head down at 20 degrees from the horizontal.
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