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Med Biol Eng Comput. 2008 Jul;46(7):659-70. doi: 10.1007/s11517-008-0349-4. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Measurement of functional microcirculatory geometry and velocity distributions using automated image analysis.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This study describes a new method for analyzing microcirculatory videos. It introduces algorithms for quantitative assessment of vessel length, diameter, the functional microcirculatory density distribution and red blood-cell (RBC) velocity in individual vessels as well as its distribution. The technique was validated and compared to commercial software. The method was applied to the sublingual microcirculation in a healthy volunteer and in a patient during cardiac surgery. Analysis time was reduced from hours to minutes compared to previous methods requiring manual vessel identification. Vessel diameter was detected with high accuracy (>80%, d > 3 pixels). Capillary length was estimated within 5 pixels accuracy. Velocity estimation was very accurate (>95%) in the range [2.5, 1,000] pixels/s. RBC velocity was reduced by 70% during the first 10 s of cardiac luxation. The present method has been shown to be fast and accurate and provides increased insight into the functional properties of the microcirculation.

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