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Monitoring peripheral perfusion and microcirculation

Dubin, Arnaldoa,b; Henriquez, Elizabethc; Hernández, Glennc

Current Opinion in Critical Care: June 2018 - Volume 24 - Issue 3 - p 173–180
doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000495

Purpose of review Microcirculatory alterations play a major role in the pathogenesis of shock. Monitoring tissue perfusion might be a relevant goal for shock resuscitation. The goal of this review was to revise the evidence supporting the monitoring of peripheral perfusion and microcirculation as goals of resuscitation. For this purpose, we mainly focused on skin perfusion and sublingual microcirculation.

Recent findings Although there are controversies about the reproducibility of capillary refill time in monitoring peripheral perfusion, it is a sound physiological variable and suitable for the ICU settings. In addition, observational studies showed its strong ability to predict outcome. Moreover, a preliminary study suggested that it might be a valuable goal for resuscitation. These results should be confirmed by the ongoing ANDROMEDA-SHOCK randomized controlled trial. On the other hand, the monitoring of sublingual microcirculation might also provide relevant physiological and prognostic information. On the contrary, methodological drawbacks mainly related to video assessment hamper its clinical implementation at the present time.

Summary Measurements of peripheral perfusion might be useful as goal of resuscitation. The results of the ANDROMEDA-SHOCK will clarify the role of skin perfusion as a guide for the treatment of shock. In contrast, the assessment of sublingual microcirculation mainly remains as a research tool.

aCátedra de Farmacología Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata

bServicio de Terapia Intensiva, Sanatorio Otamendi y Miroli, Buenos Aires, Argentina

cDepartamento de Medicina Intensiva, Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Correspondence to Arnaldo Dubin, Cátedra de Farmacología Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Calle 42 No. 577, 1900 La Plata, Argentina. Tel: +54 91150102431; e-mail:

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