Microcirculation refers to the network of capillaries, the smallest of the blood vessels, which are found in all parts of the body and are the site for gas and nutrient exchange between the blood and the tissues.
Oxygen therapy works by first improving the microcirculation and cell metabolism; this will then lead directly to improvements in organ function. There is a direct relationship between the level of tissue oxygen tension and wound healing.
Transcutaneous tissue oximetry and laser doppler flowmetry are used together to assess the functioning of the microcirculation in a MicroVascular Assessment. This is a non-invasive, painless procedure, and a very important tool; it’s used for initial assessments (prior to starting HBOT) as well as for monitoring the progress and success of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The results of the initial assessment will tell us whether hyperbaric oxygenation is likely to be effective, and provides a precise estimate of many sessions will be needed.
Transcutaneous tissue oximetry and laser doppler flowmetry are well understood, widely accepted and validated procedures. When justifying the reimbursement of hyperbaric oxygen therapy the insurance agencies (in the USA) require microvascular assessment reports. At BaroMedical, we perform complete microvascular assessments and are Canadian leaders in the use of this technology.
13. Löndahl M, Katzman P, Hammarlund C, Nilsson A, Landin-Olsson M.: Relationship between ulcer healing after hyperbaric oxygen therapy and transcutaneous oximetry, toe blood pressure and ankle-brachial index in patients with diabetes and chronic foot ulcers. ; Diabetologia. 2011 Jan;54(1):65-8. Epub 2010 Oct 19