Lookup NU author(s): Dr John Allen
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The microvasculature presents a particular challenge in physiological measurement because the vessel structure is spatially inhomogeneous and perfusion can exhibit high variability over time. This review describes, with a clinical focus, the wide variety of methods now available for imaging of the microvasculature and their key applications. Laser Doppler perfusion imaging and laser speckle contrast imaging are established, commercially-available techniques for determining microvascular perfusion, with proven clinical utility for applications such as burn-depth assessment. Nailfold capillaroscopy is also commercially available, with significant published literature that supports its use for detecting microangiopathy secondary to specific connective tissue diseases in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon. Infrared thermography measures skin temperature and not perfusion directly, and it has only gained acceptance for some surgical and peripheral microvascular applications. Other emerging technologies including imaging photoplethysmography, optical coherence tomography, photoacoustic tomography, hyperspectral imaging, and tissue viability imaging are also described to show their potential as techniques that could become established tools for clinical microvascular assessment. Growing interest in the microcirculation has helped drive the rapid development in perfusion imaging of the microvessels, bringing exciting opportunities in microvascular research.
Author(s): Allen J, Howell K
Publication type: Review
Publication status: Published
Journal: Physiological Measurement
Print publication date: 01/07/2014
Online publication date: 09/06/2014
Acceptance date: 24/04/2014
ISSN (print): 0967-3334
ISSN (electronic): 1361-6579
Publisher: IOP PUBLISHING LTD