Transcutaneous oxygen tension and capillary morphologic characteristics and density in patients with chronic venous incompetence.
The transparent oxygen electrode, recently developed by Huch and his co-workers, permits monitoring of transcutaneous oxygen tension (tcPO2) at defined sites on the capillaroscopic image obtained by videomicroscopy. This combined system has been applied to study the nutritional skin capillaries of patients with chronic venous incompetence (CVI). The results of 44 studies in 17 patients with CVI demonstrated a direct correlation between tcPO2 and density and morphologic characteristics of the superficial capillaries. The mean tcPO2 was 47.7 +/- 14.4 mm Hg at the site of incompetent perforating veins of the ankle without major trophic changes. There was no statistically significant difference between the mean values obtained in patients and control subjects (56.8 +/- 9.9 mm Hg). Videomicroscopic examination revealed dilated and tortuous capillaries surrounded by halo formations. In areas of hyperpigmentation, induration, and hyperkeratosis, significantly decreased mean tcPO2 (22.5 +/- 7.0 mm Hg; p less than .001) corresponded to reduced capillary density (less than 10 capillaries/mm2). In avascular skin areas (scar tissue, white atrophy) tcPO2 was measured at 0 mm Hg. No capillaries, or a greatly reduced number, were visible at such sites, resulting in a distance between capillary and cathode tip of the oxygen sensor of greater than 100 micron. The combined system of tcPO2 measurement and simultaneous videomicroscopy gives new pathophysiologic information on the development of skin ulcers and may be useful for the objective comparison of different therapeutic modalities at the microcirculatory level.
- Copyright © 1984 by American Heart Association