The laser Doppler analysis of posturally induced changes in skin blood flow at elevated temperatures

M. S. Rendell, M. Giitter, O. Bamisedun, K. Davenport, R. Schultz

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29 Scopus citations


Summary Recently, it has become possible to use laser Doppler techniques to separately quantitate the two components of blood flow, microvascular volume and red blood cell velocity. We used these techniques in 21 normal volunteers to quantitate the effect of postural changes in skin blood flow and its components at 35°C and at 44°C. Postural skin blood flow changes have ben studied extensively at basal skin temperature, but not at elevated temperatures. We contrasted changes at sites with arteriovenous anastomotic (AVA) blood flow (toe and finger pulps) with changes at sites with primarily nutritive flow (elbow and knee). Skin blood flow increased markedly with increasing temperature. The increases at the elbow and knee were the products of equivalent increases in both microvascular volume and velocity. In contrast, the increases on the finger and toe pulps were mainly due to increases in velocity. Elevation of both upper and lower extremities brought about a decrease in skin blood flow. Dependency increased blood flow. The magnitudes of observed changes were greater on the lower extremity than on the upper extremity and greater at 44°C than at 35°C. Once again, with postural change, the nutritive areas exhibited similar changes in volume and velocity while the AVA areas primarily showed velocity alterations. The correlation of systolic pulse pressures with blood flow was greater at the AVA areas than at nutritive areas and greater at 44°C than at 35°C. This correlation was with the velocity rather than with the volume component. The contrast of skin blood flow changes at nutritive and AVA sites at high temperatures may furnish a useful index of regional microvascular perfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-252
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology


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