Microvascular perfusion in cardiac arrest: a review of microcirculatory imaging studies

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Cardiac arrest represents a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in developed countries. Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) increases the chances for a beneficial outcome in victims of refractory cardiac arrest. However, ECPR and post-cardiac arrest care are affected by high mortality rates due to multi-organ failure syndrome, which is closely related to microcirculatory disorders. Therefore, microcirculation represents a key target for therapeutic interventions in post-cardiac arrest patients. However, the evaluation of tissue microcirculatory perfusion is still demanding to perform. Novel videomicroscopic technologies (Orthogonal polarization spectral, Sidestream dark field and Incident dark field imaging) might offer a promising way to perform bedside microcirculatory assessment and therapy monitoring. This review aims to summarise the recent body of knowledge on videomicroscopic imaging in a cardiac arrest setting and to discuss the impact of extracorporeal reperfusion and other therapeutic modalities on microcirculation.

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