Background: Hemorrhage is a major cause of soldier death; it must be quickly identified and appropriately treated. We developed a prototype patient monitor that noninvasively and continuously determines muscle oxygen saturation (SmO₂), muscle pH (pHm), and a regional assessment of blood volume (HbT) using near-infrared spectroscopy. Previous demonstration in a model of progressive, central hypovolemia induced by lower body negative pressure (LBNP) showed that SmO₂ provided an early indication of impending hemodynamic instability in humans. In this review, we expand the number of subjects and provide an overview of the relationship between the muscle and sublingual microcirculation in this model of compensated shock.
Methods: Healthy human volunteers (n = 30) underwent progressive LBNP in 5-minute intervals. Standard vital signs, along with stroke volume (SV), total peripheral resistance, functional capillary density, SmO₂, HbT, and pHm were measured continuously throughout the study.
Results and discussion: SmO₂ and SV significantly decreased during the first level of central hypovolemia (-15 mm Hg LBNP), whereas vital signs were later indicators of impending cardiovascular collapse. SmO₂ declined with SV and inversely with total peripheral resistance throughout LBNP. HbT was correlated with declining functional capillary density, suggesting vasoconstriction as a cause for decreased SmO₂ and subsequently decreased pHm. CLINICAL TRANSLATION: The monitor has been miniaturized to a 58-g solid-state sensor that is currently being evaluated on patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever. Early results demonstrate significant decreases in SmO₂ similar to those observed with progressive reductions in central blood volume. As such, this technology has the potential to (1) provide a monitoring capability for both nontraumatic and traumatic hemorrhage and (2) help combat medics triage casualties and monitor patients during lengthy transport from combat areas.