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Microvascular imaging: techniques and opportunities for clinical physiological measurements

Lookup NU author(s): Dr John Allen

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Abstract

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.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Allen J, Howell K

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Physiological Measurement

Year: 2014

Volume: 35

Issue: 7

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

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0967-3334/35/7/R91

DOI: 10.1088/0967-3334/35/7/R91


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