Near-infrared spectroscopy-based microcirculatory assessment in acute atrial fibrillation

O.S.H. Barrett, Stephen Macdonald, D.A. Playford

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    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Near-infrared spectroscopy is a means of assessing microcirculatory function, but has not been studied in atrial fibrillation (AF). We evaluated the effect of acute AF on thenar eminence near-infrared spectroscopy-derived microcirculatory variables. Stable patients presenting to the emergency department with acute onset AF underwent dynamic near-infrared spectroscopy assessment with a three minute vascular occlusion test (VOT). This was repeated after cardioversion to sinus rhythm (SR). Each assessment included baseline tissue oxygen saturation (StO2), slope of StO2 decrease during VOT, slope of StO2 increase post VOT, minimum and maximum StO2, amplitude of StO2 response and post-ischaemic hyperperfusion. Pre and post cardioversion values were compared by Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Twelve participants (seven male, five female) with a median age of 63 years (interquartile range 52 to 70 years) were enrolled. Median baseline StO2 was 74% before and 77% after cardioversion (P=0.03). The median slope of StO2 decrease during VOT was-0.19%/second and-0.16%/second (P=0.018) and the median slope of StO2 increase post VOT was 3.03%/second and 2.56%/second (P=0.002), pre and post cardioversion, respectively. Minimum StO2 was lower (39% versus 52%, P=0.002) and the amplitude of StO2 response greater (49% versus 40%, P=0.005) in AF, but there was no significant difference in maximum StO2 or the degree of reperfusion hyperaemia. In summary, baseline and minimum StO2 were lower with a greater ischaemic decrease in StO2 during AF, reflecting reduced tissue perfusion, compared with sinus rhythm. Recovery after ischaemia was higher in AF, suggesting normalisation of capillary recruitment during ischaemia. Our findings suggest that acute onset AF decreases capillary recruitment rather than causing microcirculatory dysfunction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-110
    JournalAnaesthesia and Intensive Care
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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