Background: Microvascular disease (MVD) describes systemic changes in the small vessels (~100 um diameter) that impair tissue oxygenation and perfusion. MVD is a common but poorly monitored complication of diabetes. Recent studies have demonstrated that MVD: (i) is an independent risk factor for ulceration and amputation and (ii) increases risk of adverse limb outcomes synergistically with PAD. Despite the clinical relevance of MVD, microvascular evaluation is not standard in a vascular assessment.
Methods: We evaluated 299 limbs from 153 patients seen clinically for possible lower extremity PAD. The patients were assessed by ankle brachial index (ABI), toe brachial index (TBI), and spatial frequency domain imaging (SFDI). These measurements were evaluated and compared to patient MVD status, defined by clinical diagnoses of (in ascending order of severity) no diabetes; diabetes; diabetes + neuropathy; diabetes + neuropathy + retinopathy.
Results: SFDI-derived parameters HbT1 and StO2 were significantly different across the MVD groups (P < .001). A logistic regression model based on HbT1 and StO2 differentiated limbs with severe MVD (diabetes+neuropathy+retinopathy) from the larger group of limbs from patients with only diabetes (P = .001, area under the curve = 0.844). Neither ABI nor TBI significantly differentiated these populations.
Conclusions: Standard assessment of PAD using ABI and TBI are inadequate for detecting MVD in at-risk populations. SFDI-defined HbT1 and StO2 are promising tools for evaluating MVD. Prospective studies with wound-based outcomes would be useful to further evaluate the role MVD assessment could play in routine clinical evaluation of patients at risk for lower extremity complications.
Keywords: Microvascular Disease; Oxygenation; Perfusion; SFDI.