Photoacoustic imaging for the monitoring of local changes in oxygen saturation following an adrenaline injection in human forearm skin

Josefine Bunke, Aboma Merdasa, Rafi Sheikh, John Albinsson, Tobias Erlöv, Bodil Gesslein, Magnus Cinthio, Nina Reistad, Malin Malmsjö
Biomedical Optics Express2021
Clinical monitoring of blood oxygen saturation (sO 2) is traditionally performed using optical techniques, such as pulse oximetry and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), which lack spatial resolution. Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is a rapidly developing biomedical imaging technique that is superior to previous techniques in that it combines optical excitation and acoustic detection, providing a map of chromophore distribution in the tissue. Hitherto, PAI has primarily been used in preclinical studies, and only a few studies have been performed in patients. Its ability to measure sO 2 with spatial resolution during local vasoconstriction after adrenaline injection has not yet been investigated. Using PAI and spectral unmixing we characterize the heterogeneous change in sO 2 after injecting a local anesthetic containing adrenaline into the dermis on the forearm of seven healthy subjects. In comparison to results obtained using DRS, we highlight contrasting results obtained between the two methods arising due to the so-called 'window effect' caused by a reduced blood flow in the superficial vascular plexus. The results demonstrate the importance of spatially resolving sO 2 and the ability of PAI to assess the tissue composition in different layers of the skin.
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