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Open Access Research article

Detection of microcirculatory impairment by transcutaneous oxymetry monitoring during hemodialysis: an observational study

Ygal Benhamou1*, Loic Begarin1, Nathalie David2, Nicole Cailleux1, Catherine Bessin3, Herve Lévesque1 and Stephane Edet3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Rouen University Hospital, 1 Rue de Germont, 76031 Rouen, France

2 Department of Vascular Surgery, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France

3 Department of Nephrology, Dieppe General Hospital, Dieppe, France

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BMC Nephrology 2014, 15:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-15-4

Published: 8 January 2014



Little is known about the effects of intermittent hemodialysis on microcirculatory perfusion. The aim of this study is to assess the effects of hemodialysis on microvascular perfusion using transcutaneous oxymetry (TCPO2).


In this observational study, hourly TCPO2 measurements were performed during hemodialysis sessions. Ankle brachial index (ABI) was carried out to classify patients according their vascular condition.


50 patients (mean age 70 ± 8 years old) were enrolled. Mean TCPO2 decreased significantly on average 23.9% between start and finish of hemodialysis. Severe ischemia (TCPO2 < 30 mmHg) and critical ischemia (TCPO2 < 10 mmHg) occurred during dialysis in 47.1% and 15.5% respectively. Critical ischemia occurred only in limbs with ABI < 0.9 (8.3%) or > 1.3 (28%). Patients with critical ischemia experienced a significantly larger decline in mean blood pressure (32.4 ± 26.1 mmHg vs 12.7 ± 10.7 mmHg; P = 0.007) and a more pronounced ultrafiltration (45.55 ± 16.9 ml/kg vs 35.17 ± 18.2 ml/kg; P = 0.04) compared to patients without ischemia. Clinical outcomes (death or vascular procedures) were five times more frequent in patients who had developed critical ischemia (55.7% vs 10.1% P = 0.01). The elevated age of patients, the low basal value of TCPO2, and the occurrence of critical ischemia were more frequently associated with clinical outcome (P = 0.03, P = 0.048, P = 0.01 respectively).


This study demonstrates that hemodialysis induces microcirculatory injury, dependent on blood pressure reduction, peripheral vascular state and ultrafiltration. The occurrence of critical ischemia is associated to pejorative patient outcome and therefore, TCPO2 seems to be useful to avoid potential distal tissue damage during hemodialysis.

Peripheral arterial disease; Critical ischemia; Transcutaneous oxymetry; Hemodialysis