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      Abnormal blood flow in the sublingual microcirculation at high altitude

      , 1 , 2 , 2 , 1 , 1 , for the Caudwell Xtreme Everest Research Group

      European Journal of Applied Physiology


      Hypoxia, Microcirculation, Altitude, Oxygen

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          We report the first direct observations of deranged microcirculatory blood flow at high altitude, using sidestream dark-field imaging. Images of the sublingual microcirculation were obtained from a group of 12 volunteers during a climbing expedition to Cho Oyu (8,201 m) in the Himalayas. Microcirculatory flow index (MFI) was calculated from the moving images of microcirculatory red blood cell flow, and comparison was made between the baseline and high altitude measurements. Peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO 2) and Lake Louise scores (LLS) were recorded along with MFI. Our data demonstrate that there was a significant reduction in MFI from baseline to 4,900 m in small (less than 25 μm) and medium (26–50 μm) sized blood vessels ( P = 0.025 and P = 0.046, respectively). There was no significant correlation between MFI and SpO 2 or MFI and LLS. Disruption of blood flow within microcirculatory may explain persistent abnormal oxygen flux to tissues following the normalisation of systemic oxygen delivery that accompanies acclimatisation to high altitude.

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          Quantifying bedside-derived imaging of microcirculatory abnormalities in septic patients: a prospective validation study

          Introduction The introduction of orthogonal polarization spectral (OPS) imaging in clinical research has elucidated new perspectives on the role of microcirculatory flow abnormalities in the pathogenesis of sepsis. Essential to the process of understanding and reproducing these abnormalities is the method of quantification of flow scores. Methods In a consensus meeting with collaboraters from six research centres in different fields of experience with microcirculatory OPS imaging, premeditated qualifications for a simple, translucent and reproducible way of flow scoring were defined. Consecutively, a single-centre prospective observational validation study was performed in a group of 12 patients with an abdominal sepsis and a new stoma. Flow images of the microcirculation in vascular beds of the sublingual and stoma region were obtained, processed and analysed in a standardised way. We validated intra-observer and inter-observer reproducibility with kappa cross-tables for both types of microvascular beds. Results Agreement and kappa coefficients were >85% and >0.75, respectively, for interrater and intrarater variability in quantification of flow abnormalities during sepsis, in different subsets of microvascular architecture. Conclusion Semi-quantitative analysis of microcirculatory flow, as described, provides a reproducible and transparent tool in clinical research to monitor and evaluate the microcirculation during sepsis.
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            Microvascular alterations in patients with acute severe heart failure and cardiogenic shock.

            Microvascular blood flow alterations may impair tissue oxygenation and may participate in the development of multiple organ failure in patients with severe heart failure. We hypothesized that microvascular blood flow alterations are present in patients with severe heart failure and cardiogenic shock. We used an orthogonal polarization spectral imaging technique to investigate the sublingual microcirculation in 40 patients with acute severe heart failure, including 31 patients with cardiogenic shock, and in a control group of 15 patients who were examined the day before cardiac surgery. The effects of topical application of acetylcholine (10-2M) were also tested in 5 patients with cardiogenic shock. Five sublingual areas were recorded, allocated a random number, and later analyzed semiquantitatively. Data were analyzed with non-parametric tests and presented as medians (percentiles 25-75). The density of all the vessels was similar in the 3 groups. The proportion of perfused small (<20 microm) vessels was lower in patients with cardiac failure and cardiogenic shock than in control patients (63% [46%-65%] and 49% [38%-64%] vs 92% [90%-93%], P <.001). The perfusion of large vessels was preserved in all groups. The proportion of perfused vessels was higher in patients who survived than in patients who did not survive in all vessels (90% [84%-93%] vs 81% [74%-87%], P <.05) and in small vessels (64% [49%-68%] vs 43% [37%-62%], P <.05). The topical application of acetylcholine totally reversed these alterations Microvascular blood flow alterations are frequently observed in patients with severe heart failure and are more severe in patients who do not survive.
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              Clinical manifestations of disordered microcirculatory perfusion in severe sepsis

              Microcirculatory dysfunction plays a pivotal role in the development of the clinical manifestations of severe sepsis. Prior to the advent of new imaging technologies, clinicians had been limited in their ability to assess the microcirculation at the bedside. Clinical evidence of microcirculatory perfusion has historically been limited to physical examination findings or surrogates that could be derived from global parameters of oxygen transport. This review explores: (1) the clinical manifestations of severe sepsis that can be linked to microcirculatory dysfunction; (2) the relationship between conventional hemodynamic parameters and microcirculatory blood flow indices; (3) the incorporation of microcirculatory function into the definition of 'shock' in the sepsis syndrome; (4) the role of the microcirculation in oxygen transport; and (5) the potential impact of novel sepsis therapies on microcirculatory flow. Although the study of the microcirculation has long been the domain of basic science, newly developed imaging technologies, such as orthogonal polarization spectral imaging, have now given us the ability to directly visualize and analyze microcirculatory blood flow at the bedside, and see the microcirculatory response to therapeutic interventions. Disordered microcirculatory flow can now be associated with systemic inflammation, acute organ dysfunction, and increased mortality. Using new technologies to directly image microcirculatory blood flow will help define the role of microcirculatory dysfunction in oxygen transport and circulatory support in severe sepsis.

                Author and article information

                +44-780-1444428 , dan.s.martin@gmail.com
                Eur J Appl Physiol
                European Journal of Applied Physiology
                Springer-Verlag (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                31 March 2009
                June 2009
                : 106
                : 3
                : 473-478
                [1 ]Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine (CASE Medicine), UCL Institute of Human Health and Performance, First Floor, Charterhouse Building, Archway Campus, Highgate Hill, London, N19 5LW UK
                [2 ]Department of Physiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                © The Author(s) 2009
                Short Communication
                Custom metadata
                © Springer-Verlag 2009

                Anatomy & Physiology

                microcirculation, oxygen, hypoxia, altitude


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