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Monitoring the microcirculation in the ICU 

Monitoring the microcirculation in the ICU
Chapter:
Monitoring the microcirculation in the ICU
Author(s):

Can Ince

and Alexandre Lima

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199600830.003.0142
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date: 28 February 2020

The microcirculation is the key physiological compartment of the cardiovascular system where oxygen is delivered by convection and diffusion to respiring parenchymal cells to support cellular, and thereby organ, function. The microcirculation consists of microvessels less than 100 µmin diameter consisting of arterioles, capillaries, and venules. The smallest vessels (<6 µm) are the capillaries where most oxygen leaves the circulation by passive diffusion to cells. The critical role of the microcirculation has long been recognized, although it has recently been possible to image its function at the bedside, thus making it a clinically important compartment to monitor. Prior to this type of monitoring, peripheral perfusion was used as a surrogate before more advanced optical techniques were developed to image microcirculatory function both non-invasively and at the bedside. This chapter provides a brief overview of microcirculatory assessment.

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