Side-by-Side Alterations in Glycocalyx Thickness and Perfused Microvascular Density During Acute Microcirculatory Alterations in Cardiac Surgery

Nick J. Koning*, Alexander B. A. Vonk, Hans Vink, Christa Boer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Web of Science)


Objectives Endothelial glycocalyx injury causes microcirculatory perfusion disturbances in experimental studies, but the relevance in a clinical setting remains unknown. We investigated whether glycocalyx dimensions are reduced after onset of CPB and whether this is associated with alterations in microvascular perfusion. MethodsThe current observational study included 36 patients undergoing cardiac surgery without or with CPB, using either nonpulsatile or pulsatile flow. Sublingual microcirculatory perfusion was assessed perioperatively and analyzed for perfused vessel density and PBR, an inverse parameter of endothelial glycocalyx dimensions. ResultsPerfused vessel density decreased after onset of CPB in parallel with an increase in PBR in both pulsatile and nonpulsatile groups. In the nonpulsatile CPB group, these alterations were still persistent in the ICU (PVD: T1 19.82.8mm/mm(2) vs. T3 15.3 +/- 2.6mm/mm(2); p=0.004. PBR: T1 2.40 +/- 0.35m vs. T3 2.60 +/- 0.31m; p=0.020). In the off-pump group, perfused vessel density remained unaltered. An inverse correlation between perfused vessel density and PBR was detected. ConclusionsThis study shows that endothelial glycocalyx dimensions decrease after onset of CPB and are closely related to microvascular perfusion when assessed with a novel, noninvasive technique.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-74
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • capillaries
  • cardiopulmonary bypass
  • microcirculation
  • endothelial glycocalyx

Cite this