Neurovascular Assessment; Clinical Guide, Sample Chart, and PDF

neurovascular assessment

Why do some individuals complain about neurovascular impairment? Well, guess it’s because they neglect the neurovascular test. Truly, they need to first get the test’s flow sheet and know the 6 P’s of a neurovascular assessment to get started.

In light of this, do you actually know that your body contains a vast number of blood arteries and nerves? As a result, neurovascular assessments are an important aspect of maintaining your health.

Well, this is especially true for people who have diabetes or a history of peripheral vascular disease.

However, if you need more clarity on how this neurovascular assessment works, the clinical sample charts, and how to get started with this assessment, then you are on the right path. Read on!

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What is Neurovascular Assessment?

A neurovascular assessment, also known as a “circ check,” is used to know if there is enough feeling and circulation to an extremity.

In other words, it is a test that doctors use to detect neurovascular impairment, reduced blood flow to the limbs, and peripheral nerve injury.

Therefore, neurovascular assessments are critical in monitoring for acute compartment syndrome after trauma (fractures) and vascular surgery (ACS).

In fact, with this test, you can detect ACS as well as avoid loss of function or amputation.

What are the 6 Ps of Neurovascular Assessment?

The 6 P’s of a neurovascular assessment are pain, pulse, paralysis, poikilothermia, pallor, and paresthesia.

To explain, they are outlined as follows:

1. Pain

Pain is the most common sign of compartment syndrome. It might be caused by edema, bone fragment movement, or muscular spasms.

It does, however, grow when the pressure within the limb compartment rises.

Indeed, when assessing for pain, the physician should only feel the sensation at the location of the injury.

In addition, one approach to determining this is to ask the subject to record the location, severity, and radiation of the pain. Consider nonverbal pain signs as well.

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2. Pulse

Pulses from unaffected and damaged extremities should be checked for differences in rate and quality.

In light of this, the absence of pulses on the wrist, top of the foot, and rear of the foot is referred to as pulselessness.

However, when assessing pulse, make comparisons from one side of the body to the other to confirm the pulses are present with symmetrical strength on both sides.

In contrast, a reduced or nonexistent pulse distal to the injury may suggest vascular dysfunction and insufficiency and should be reported to the physician quickly.

To illustrate, utilize a 0 to 3+ point scale, where 0 indicates no pulse and 3+ indicates a strong and bounding pulse.

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3. Pallor

Pallor is the color of the extremities, which might be pale skin, pink, or cyanotic. This, however, is a sign of compartment syndrome.

Purple or blue discoloration on the skin, on the other hand, may mean a poor venous return of blood.

However, this should be weighed against the unaffected side together with temperature (hot, warm, cool, cold).

In addition, pale, glossy skin distal to the injury may indicate compartment syndrome, whereas a warm, cyanotic extremity may indicate inadequate venous return.

In reality, a typical capillary refill time should be 3 seconds, and anything longer should be probed for the cause.

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4. Poikilothermia

Poikilothermia is the ability to control one’s body temperature.

To test this, place the back of the hand on the individual’s extremities bilaterally.

In general, the temperature of the afflicted limb or portion of the body should be the same as the rest of the body. If the afflicted area is noticeably cooler, this might indicate a problem with blood flow.

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5. Paralysis

Another component of the neurovascular assessment is testing for paralysis, or the inability to move a portion or all of the body.

Here, this includes measuring muscular strength and analyzing the capacity to stretch and flex the foot, hands, fingers, and toes.

However, to put this to the test, have the individual do certain actions with their arms and legs.

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6. Paresthesia

Paresthesia is frequently the first symptom of an approaching issue, characterized as “pins-and-needles”.

Well, this sensation may involve numbness or tingling as a result of insufficient circulation.

In other words, numbness and tingling can develop after an accident or after surgery if a nerve is injured.

This, however, might be an indication of nerve injury or developing compartment syndrome. Apply a mild touch to the extremities and puncture the region with the end of a pen cap to test this.

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Why Would You do a Neurovascular Assessment?

You will need to do a neurovascular assessment when there is a suspect of impaired blood flow, compromised neurological functions, orthopedic surgery, spinal surgery, or nerve injury.

In fact, you should be aware that disregarding this might result in great harm (e.g., loss of a limb or even death).

Furthermore, impaired blood flow can develop as a result of compartment syndrome, a painful disease in which muscle pressure rises to hazardous levels owing to internal bleeding or tissue swelling.

As a result, essential nutrients can no longer reach the muscles and neurons. Hence, the need for neurovascular assessment.

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How do You Perform a Neurovascular Assessment?

To do a neurovascular assessment, a clinician will first examine the 6 Ps.

Firstly, they will usually ask the individual to note the location and degree of the pain, as well as if it radiates or spreads from the area of damage.

However, if the patient is unable to talk, clinicians should examine nonverbal pain signs such as guarding, which is an involuntary response to protect an area of pain.

Secondly, light touch to the extremities can be used to assess paraesthesia. The clinician’s hands should be placed bilaterally on the individual’s extremities to measure temperature.

Finally, assessing the range of motion by having the participant execute certain arm and leg motions.

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Neurovascular Assessment Clinical, Sample Chart Pdf

The Neurovascular assessment test, aside from comprising 6ps, also accesses sensation and motion of the peroneal nerve, tibial nerve, radial nerve, ulnar nerve, and median nerve of a patient.

To illustrate, we have included the neurovascular assessment sample chart below:

Neurovascular Assessment Flow Sheet

The neurovascular assessment flowsheet includes the patient’s 6ps neurovascular assessment and identification.

To illustrate, it includes Date, time, extremity, edema, color, temperature, comfort level, pain score, pulses as well as a patient’s pain rating scale.

Also, there is a column for a patient’s pain scales; this is divided into wong baker, visual and verbal (non-cognitive).
On the whole, the above record is all part of the medical record.

Furthermore, another part of the medical record in the neurovascular assessment flowsheet is the patient’s peroneal nerve, tibial nerve, radial nerve, ulnar nerve, and the patient’s median nerve sensation and motion.

However, to get access to this neurovascular assessment flowsheet,

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Neurovascular Assessment Procedures

The procedures for the neurovascular assessment test require the completion of all parts of the Neurovascular Observation Form enter the test in an electronic medical record (eMR).

Neurovascular evaluation is, in fact, comparative. However, Before performing the Neurovascular assessment test on the afflicted limb, the unaffected limb should be assessed to create a baseline.

Furthermore, Before checking the patient’s neurovascular condition, make sure that the distal extremities are free of nail paint, dirt, blood, or any other discolored skin preparation.
Also, remove any jewelry on the injured/affected limb. This is because it may create restrictions due to predicted swelling.


What are the 5 P's in neurovascular assessment?

The 5 P’s of neurovascular Assessment include pain, pallor, pulse, paresthesia, and paralysis.

What are the 7 P of neurovascular assessment?

The neurovascular examination includes pulses, capillary refill, skin color, temperature, sensation, and motor function.

However, during this assessment, pain, and edema are also examined. It is critical to compare evaluation findings bilaterally.

What is the purpose of neurovascular assessment?

The purpose of a neurovascular examination is to detect early signs and symptoms of acute ischemia or compartment syndrome and to assist with proper therapeutic therapy.

How do you perform a neurovascular assessment on an immobilized extremity?

To do a neurovascular assessment on an immobilized extremity, do the following:
1) Insert one or two fingers into the proximal and distal ends.
2) If feasible, palpate the cast limb’s distal pulse and record its strength.
3) Take note of the color of the nail beds.
4) Instruct the patient to report any feelings in the cast-covered limb.
5) Request that he twitch his fingers or toes.

What are some neurovascular complications?

Some neurovascular complications include:

  • Cavernous Malformations.
  • Moyamoya Disease.
  • Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack.
  • Brain Aneurysm.
  • Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)
  • Atherosclerosis: Carotid and Vertebral Artery Disease.
  • Dural Arteriovenous Fistula/Malformation.

Why neurovascular assessment is important?

Neurovascular status assessment is critical for detecting neurovascular degeneration or impairment early.

Delays in recognizing neurovascular impairment, on the other hand, can result in persistent disabilities, limb loss, and even death.

In reality, neurovascular degeneration can develop following trauma, surgery, or the placement of a cast.


Getting a neurovascular assessment is really essential as it helps you to examine your sensory and motor function; as well as peripheral circulation.

In truth, you are not only checking your feet when you get a neurovascular test. You are also checking your circulatory system’s health.

In light of this, when left untreated, these disorders can go undetected for a long time, worsening over time and eventually leading to stroke/heart attack or limb loss.

That said, we hope you got the necessary details you need to know about neurovascular assessment here. However, if otherwise, you can drop your comment in the comment section.



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