• avian;
  • bird;
  • Doppler;
  • indirect blood pressure;
  • norepinephrine;
  • oscillometric;
  • red-tailed hawk;
  • sphygmomanometer


Objective  To compare Doppler and oscillometric methods of indirect arterial blood pressure (IBP) with direct arterial measurements in anesthetized and awake red-tailed hawks.

Study design  Prospective, randomized, blinded study.

Animals  Six, sex unknown, adult red-tailed hawks.

Methods  Birds were anesthetized and IBP measurements were obtained by oscillometry (IBP-O) and Doppler (IBP-D) on the pectoral and pelvic limbs using three cuffs of different width based on limb circumference: cuff 1 (20–30% of circumference), cuff 2 (30–40%), and cuff 3 (40–50%). Direct arterial pressure measurements were obtained from the contralateral superficial ulnar artery. Indirect blood pressure measurements were compared to direct systolic arterial pressure (SAP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) during normotension and induced states of hypotension and hypertension. Measurements were also obtained in awake, restrained birds. Three-way anova, linear regression and Bland–Altman analyses were used to evaluate the IBP-D data. Results are reported as mean bias (95% confidence intervals).

Results  The IBP-O monitor reported errors during 54% of the measurements. Indirect blood pressure Doppler measurements were most accurate with cuff 3 and were comparable to MAP with a bias of 2 (−9, 13 mmHg). However, this cuff consistently underestimated SAP with a bias of 33 (19, 48 mmHg). Variability in the readings within and among birds was high. There was no significant difference between sites of cuff placement. Awake birds had SAP, MAP and diastolic arterial pressure that were 56, 43, and 38 mmHg higher than anesthetized birds.

Conclusions and clinical relevance  Indirect blood pressure (oscillometric) measurements were unreliable in red-tailed hawks. Indirect blood pressure (Doppler) measurements were closer to MAP measurements than SAP measurements. There was slightly better agreement with the use of cuff 3 on either the pectoral or pelvic limbs. Awake, restrained birds have significantly higher arterial pressures than those under sevoflurane anesthesia.