Purpose of review
Despite restoration of adequate systemic blood flow in patients with shock, single organs may remain hypoperfused. In this review, we summarize the results of a literature research on methods to monitor single organ perfusion in shock. We focused on methods to measure heart, brain, kidney, and/or visceral organ perfusion. Furthermore, only methods that can be used in real-time and at the bedside were included.
We identified studies on physical examination techniques, electrocardiography, echocardiography, contrast-enhanced ultrasound, near-infrared spectroscopy, and Doppler sonography to assess single organ perfusion.
Physical examination techniques have a reasonable negative predictive value to exclude single organ hypoperfusion but are nonspecific to detect it. Technical methods to indirectly measure myocardial perfusion include ECG and echocardiography. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound can quantify myocardial perfusion but has so far only been used to detect regional myocardial hypoperfusion. Near-infrared spectroscopy and transcranial Doppler sonography can be used to assess cerebral perfusion and determine autoregulation thresholds of the brain. Both Doppler and contrast-enhanced ultrasound techniques are novel methods to evaluate renal and visceral organ perfusion. A key limitation of most techniques is the inability to determine adequacy of organ blood flow to meet the organs’ metabolic demands.