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International Angiology 2020 December;39(6):492-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0392-9590.20.04428-4


language: English

Involvement of microcirculation in critical ischemia: how to identify it?

Pavel POREDOS 1, 2

1 Department of Vascular Disease, University Medical Centre Ljubljana (UMCL), Ljubljana, Slovenia; 2 Department of Advanced Cardiopulmonary Therapies and Transplantation, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA

Critical limb ischemia represents the most severe pattern of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) associated with the high risk of major amputation, cardiovascular events and death. The diagnosis and management of critical limb ischemia (CLI) is often challenging. Systolic ankle and toe pressure measurements are considered to be the basic techniques for the identification of PAD. However, they provide rough insight into the dependent local tissue perfusion. Furthermore, those techniques do not enable investigation of microcirculation which has crucial role in the pathogenesis of CLI. Some patients with mild deterioration of macrocirculation develop CLI if microcirculation is affected. Investigation of perfusion on macro- and local microcirculatory level enables more effective treatment: revascularization of the angiosome-related artery. The technologies capable of assessing limb tissue oxygenation or perfusion on microcirculatory level enable direct assessment of distant tissue oxygenation. Transcutaneous oxygen tension (TcPO2) measurement which was introduced in clinical practice represents one of the objective criteria for the diagnosis of CLI. Main weakness of this technique as well as laser Doppler flow measurement is low penetrance from the skin surface. Measurement of tissue blood flow on microcirculatory level can be performed with indocyanine green fluorescent imaging (ICG), contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance and vital microscopy. ICG is promising method which provides excellent informative image of tissue perfusion. However, it offers little quantitative information. Investigation of microcirculation in patients with CLI is of outmost importance because it enables insight in local tissue perfusion and oxygenation, which represents the basis of identification of most ischemic regions and provide more successful angiosome related revascularization of an affected artery.

KEY WORDS: Microcirculation; Ankle-Brachial Index; Fluorescein angiography

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