Evaluation of Microvascular Perfusion and Resuscitation after Severe Injury

Yann-Leei Lee, Jon D. Simmons, Mark N. Gillespie, Diego F. Alvarez, Richard P. Gonzalez, Sidney B. Brevard, Mohammad A. Frotan, Andrew M. Schneider, William O. Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Achieving adequate perfusion is a key goal of treatment in severe trauma; however, tissue perfusion has classically been measured by indirect means. Direct visualization of capillary flow has been applied in sepsis, but application of this technology to the trauma population has been limited. The purpose of this investigation was to compare the efficacy of standard indirect measures of perfusion to direct imaging of the sublingual microcirculatory flow during trauma resuscitation. Patients with injury severity scores >15 were serially examined using a handheld sidestream dark-field video microscope. In addition, measurements were also made from healthy volunteers. The De Backer score, a morphometric capillary density score, and total vessel density (TVD) as cumulative vessel area within the image, were calculated using Automated Vascular Analysis (AVA3.0) software. These indices were compared against clinical and laboratory parameters of organ function and systemic metabolic status as well as mortality. Twenty severely injured patients had lower TVD (X = 14.6 ± 0.22 vs 17.66 ± 0.51) and De Backer scores (X = 9.62 ± 0.16 vs 11.55 ± 0.37) compared with healthy controls. These scores best correlated with serum lactate (TVD R(2) = 0.525, De Backer R(2) = 0.576, P < 0.05). Mean arterial pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, pH, bicarbonate, base deficit, hematocrit, and coagulation parameters correlated poorly with both TVD and De Backer score. Direct measurement of sublingual microvascular perfusion is technically feasible in trauma patients, and seems to provide real-time assessment of microcirculatory perfusion. This study suggests that in severe trauma, many indirect measurements of perfusion do not correlate with microvascular perfusion. However, visualized perfusion deficiencies do reflect a shift toward anaerobic metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1272-1278
Number of pages7
JournalThe American surgeon
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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