Background The aim of this study was to collect important data on the time of oxygen saturation change in relation to skin flap color alteration using non-invasive pulse oximetry to evaluate its ability to provide continuous monitoring of skin flap perfusion. Methods An experimental study on the monitoring of blood perfusion of 20 tube-island groin flaps of 10 male New Zealand rabbits was performed using pulse oximetry. The animals were randomly assigned to one of two groups representing a blockage of either arterial or venous blood flow. The oxygen saturation change and clinical color alteration were monitored from the beginning of vessel clamping until the saturation became undetectable. The result was analyzed by the t-test using SSPS ver. 10.0. Results The mean times from the vessel clamping until the saturation became undetectable were 20.19±2.13 seconds and 74.91±10.57 seconds for the artery and vein clamping groups, respectively. The mean time of the clinical alteration from the beginning of vein clamping was 34.5±11.72 minutes, while the alteration in flaps with artery clamping could not be detected until 2.5 hours after clamping. Conclusions The use of neonate-type reusable flex sensor-pulse oximetry is objective and effective in early detection of arterial and vein blockage. It provides real-time data on vessel occlusion, which in turn will allow for early salvaging. The detection periods of both arterial occlusion and venous congestion are much earlier than the color alteration one may encounter clinically.
- Free tissue flaps
- Oxygen consumption