Microcirculation, a complex and specialized facet of organ architecture, has characteristics that vary according to the function of the tissue it supplies. Bedside technology that can directly observe microcirculation in patients, such as orthogonal polarization spectral imaging and sidestream dark field imaging, has opened the way to investigating this network and its components, especially in critical illness and surgery. These investigations have underscored the central role of microcirculation in perioperative disease states. They have also highlighted variations in the nature of microcirculation, both among organ systems and within specific organs. Supported by experimental studies, current investigations are better defining the nature of microcirculatory alterations in critical illness and how these alterations respond to therapy. This review focuses on studies conducted to date on the microcirculatory beds of critically ill patients. The functional anatomy of microcirculation networks and the role of these networks in the pathogenesis of critical illness are discussed. The morphology of microvascular beds that have been visualized during surgery and intensive care at the bedside are also described, including those of the brain, sublingual region, skin, intestine, and eyes.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
doi.org/10.1016/j.ccm.2008.06.008, hdl.handle.net/1765/14508
Clinics in Chest Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Klijn, E., den Uil, C., Bakker, J., & Ince, C. (2008). The Heterogeneity of the Microcirculation in Critical Illness. Clinics in Chest Medicine (Vol. 29, pp. 643–654). doi:10.1016/j.ccm.2008.06.008