Effect of transcutaneous application of gaseous carbon dioxide on cutaneous microcirculation


Background: The inefficient healing of chronic wounds is a result of poor blood perfusion at the wound and surrounding tissues. Artificially applied carbon dioxide (CO2) has the potential to improve the perfusion and oxygenation of tissues, hence is useful for the healing of chronic wounds.

Objective: The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of a transcutaneous application of physiological vasodilator gaseous CO2 on cutaneous blood flow.

Methods: Laser Doppler (LD) flux in cutaneous microcirculation, skin temperature, electrocardiogram and arterial blood pressure were measured simultaneously in a group of 33 healthy men, aged 21-28 years, during rest and a 35-minute CO2 therapy. One lower limb of each subject represented the studied extremity, being exposed to gaseous CO2. The contralateral limb was the control, being exposed to air. Each limb was sealed in a plastic bag.

Results: During CO2 therapy the LD flux in the studied extremity increased from 5.8 PU ± 3.9 PU to 30.3 PU ± 16.7 PU (mean ± standard deviation; paired t-test, p < 0.001), while that in the control extremity did not change significantly.

Conclusions: Our results confirm a local vasodilatory effect of applied CO2 therapy. This finding indicates its potential clinical use.

Keywords: CO2 therapy; Physiological measurements; dry CO2 bath; laser Doppler fluxmetry.


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