Evolution of peripheral vs metabolic perfusion parameters during septic shock resuscitation. A clinical-physiologic study

J Crit Care. 2012 Jun;27(3):283-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2011.05.024. Epub 2011 Jul 27.


Purpose: Perfusion assessment during septic shock resuscitation is difficult and usually complex determinations. Capillary refill time (CRT) and central-to-toe temperature difference (Tc-toe) have been proposed as objective reproducible parameters to evaluate peripheral perfusion. The comparative evolution of peripheral vs metabolic perfusion parameters in septic shock resuscitation has not been studied. We conducted a prospective observational clinical-physiologic study to address this subject.

Methods: Patients with sepsis-related circulatory dysfunction were resuscitated according to a standard local algorithm. Perfusion assessment included serial determinations of metabolic (central venous O(2) saturation [Scvo(2)] and central venous to arterial Pco(2) gradient [P(cv-a)co(2)]) and peripheral perfusion parameters (CRT and Tc-toe, among others). Successful resuscitation was defined as a normal plasma lactate at 24 hours.

Results: Forty-one patients were included. The presence of normal values for both CRT and Tc-toe considered together at 6 hours was independently associated with a successful resuscitation (P = .02), as compared with the behavior of metabolic parameters. Capillary refill time was the first parameter to be significantly normalized.

Conclusion: Early recovery of peripheral perfusion anticipates a successful resuscitation compared with traditional metabolic parameters in septic shock patients. Our findings support the inclusion of serial peripheral perfusion assessment in multimodal monitoring strategies for septic shock resuscitation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chile
  • Extremities / blood supply*
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Microcirculation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regional Blood Flow*
  • Shock, Septic / physiopathology*
  • Shock, Septic / therapy
  • Skin Temperature
  • Toes / blood supply


  • Lactic Acid