Purpose of review
Adequate tissue perfusion is of utmost importance to avoid organ failure in patients with cardiogenic shock. Within the recent years, the microcirculation, defined as the perfusion of the smallest vessels, has been identified to play a crucial role. Microcirculatory changes may include capillary flow disturbances as well as changes in the density of perfused vessels. Due to the availability of new technologies to assess the microcirculation, interesting new data came up and it is the purpose of this review to summarize recent studies in the field.
Nowadays, an increasing number of studies confirm parameters of the microcirculation, derived by intravital microscopy, to represent strong outcome predictors in cardiogenic shock. In addition, microcirculation as read-out parameter in innovative clinical studies has meanwhile been accepted as serious endpoint. Treatment strategies such as mechanical assist devices, blood pressure regulating agents or fluids use tissue perfusion and microcirculatory network density as targets in addition to clinical perfusion evaluation and decreasing serum lactate levels.
The parameter most frequently used to detect tissue malperfusion is serum lactate. Novel, noninvasive methods to quantify microvascular perfusion have the potential to guide treatment in terms of optimizing organ perfusion and oxygenation probably paving the way for an individualized therapy.