Myocutaneous flap ischemia: Flow dynamics following venous and arterial obstruction

  • Hjortdal V
  • Hansen E
  • Hauge E
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To further clarify the pathogenesis of the poorer prognosis in skin flaps exposed to venous stasis compared with arterial insufficiency, a microsphere study was conducted in bilateral rectus abdominis island flaps in seven pigs. The relationship between capillary blood flow and arteriovenous (A-V) shunting was studied during progressive 1-hour intervals of arterial insufficiency and venous stasis and during 3 hours of reperfusion. Under controlled conditions, total blood flow was reduced from 100 percent to both 50 and 25 percent by application of an adjustable clamp on the artery supplying one flap and on the vein draining the contralateral flap. The relative distribution between A-V shunt flow and capillary blood flow was different in arterial insufficiency when compared with venous stasis at both the 50 percent and the 25 percent blood flow levels. In the arterial insufficiency flaps, the A-V shunt flow and capillary blood flow shared the total blood flow in the following percentages: 64/36 (at 100 percent total blood flow), 44/56 (at 50 percent total blood flow level), and 22/78 (at 25 percent total blood flow level). In the venous stasis flaps, the A-V shunt flow and the capillary blood flow shared the total blood flow in percentages of 70/30, 66/34, and 55/45, respectively. Hence, in arterial insufficiency flaps, capillary blood flow was spared by a relatively greater decline in A-V shunting compared with venous stasis flaps. Redistribution of capillary blood flow from subcutaneous tissue to muscle was observed, whereas blood flow was equally distributed throughout the length of the flaps at all flow levels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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  • Vibeke Elisabeth Hjortdal

  • Ebbe Stender Hansen

  • Ellen Hauge

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