A low oxygen tension might contribute to the dermatological changes produced by deep venous insufficiency and venous stasis. Since elastic support is often prescribed for stasis disorders, it would be of value to know whether compression alters the oxygen tension in affected skin. We performed studies in which the transcutaneous Po2 (TcPo2) was determined for the foot or lower leg in subjects with normal veins (n = 9) or with dermatitis caused by documented deep venous insufficiency (n = 14). Measurements were made using O2-sensing electrodes placed 1–2 cm apart; surface temperature was 45°C for one electrode (producing maximal vasodilation of the underlying skin) and 42°C for the other (producing submaximal vasodilation). The vasodilation index (VI = TcPo2 at 42 °C/TcPo2 at 45°C) was used as an index of vasomotor tone. In normal limbs, TcPo2 (mmHg) and VI were affected by the subject's posture (TcPo2 = 38.8 at 42°C and 61.4 at 45°C when supine; 40.8 at 42°C and 74.6 at 45°C when upright with legs dependent; VI = 0.63 supine and 0.53 upright). In limbs with venous stasis, TcPo2 and VI were considerably lower (TcPo2 = 23.6 at 42°C and 51.5 at 45°C when supine; 20.8 at 42°C and 60.5 at 45°C when upright; VI = 0.48 supine and 0.37 upright). Following the application of an elastic wrap to the limbs with stasis, upright values for TcPo2 and VI were substantially improved (TcPo2 with compression = 28.8 at 42°C and 62.4 at 45°C; VI = 0.46). We conclude that (1) TcPo2 is reduced in regions of skin affected by stasis dermatitis, and (2) elastic compression improves TcPo2 (during upright posture) in limbs with stasis dermatitis.
- TcPo, venous stasis
- elastic compression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine