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Microvasc Res. 2010 Jan;79(1):29-33. doi: 10.1016/j.mvr.2009.10.003. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Reproducibility of transcutaneous oximetry and laser Doppler flowmetry in facial skin and gingival tissue.

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Department of Clinical Dentistry - Oral Surgery and Oral Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Odontology, University of Bergen, Arstadveien 17, N-5009 Bergen, Norway.


Laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) and transcutaneous oximetry (TcPO(2)) are non-invasive techniques, widely used in the clinical setting, for assessing microvascular blood flow and tissue oxygen tension, e.g. recording vascular changes after radiotherapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. With standardized procedures and improved reproducibility, these methods might also be applicable in longitudinal studies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reproducibility of facial skin and gingival LDF and facial skin TcPO(2). The subjects comprised ten healthy volunteers, 5 men, aged 31-68 years. Gingival perfusion was recorded with the LDF probe fixed to a custom made, tooth-supported acrylic splint. Skin perfusion was recorded on the cheek. TcPO(2) was recorded on the forehead and cheek and in the second intercostal space. The reproducibility of LDF measurements taken after vasodilation by heat provocation was greater than for basal flow in both facial skin and mandibular gingiva. Pronounced intraday variations were observed. Interweek reproducibility assessed by intraclass correlation coefficient ranged from 0.74 to 0.96 for LDF and from 0.44 to 0.75 for TcPO(2). The results confirm acceptable reproducibility of LDF and TcPO(2) in longitudinal studies in a vascular laboratory where subjects serve as their own controls. The use of thermoprobes is recommended. Repeat measurements should be taken at the same time of day.

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