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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Apr;86(4):262-71.

Scanning laser-Doppler imaging of leg- and foot-skin perfusion in normal subjects: analysis of age, gender, site, and laser-type effects.

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  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



To report normal values of skin perfusion in healthy subjects in three age groups using a laser Doppler imager; to determine differences attributable to gender, age, site, and use of red or near-infrared lasers; and to correlate transcutaneous oxygen with laser flux values.


Flux and transcutaneous oxygen were measured at ten sites in the lower extremity in 60 subjects from three age groups. Heated and unheated sites were scanned with red and near-infrared lasers.


Heat hyperemia was prominent at all sites. Small, statistically significant mean +/- SD differences were found between heated and nonheated sites for the red and near-infrared lasers (P = 0.02). All flux ratios were independent of gender but were higher in the oldest group. Plantar sites demonstrated higher flux in unheated areas and lower flux ratios compared with leg sites. Transcutaneous oxygen did not correlate significantly with flux for either laser type.


Scanning laser-Doppler imaging flux values provide a reference for identifying patients at risk for tissue ischemia and poor healing potential caused by impaired circulatory reserve in the legs and distal feet. The lack of correlation between flux and transcutaneous oxygen in healthy individuals suggests that they measure different physiologic processes.

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