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What Is It?

Transcutaneous oximetry is measurement of tissue healability, and is an assessment procedure that involves measuring the oxygen levels through a patient’s skin. 

This information assists in decision making regarding vascular rehabilitation. It is useful to the vascular surgeon and others who perform ever-increasingly sophisticated procedures to supply or open vessels into the ankle and foot. A series of oxygen measurements can be used to monitor progress before and after various interventions regarding the healing potential of the tissue.

How is it done? A number of leads are placed at locations on the patient’s body. This looks similar to the setup of an electrocardiogram.  These leads are connected to a machine called a transcutaneous oximeter, which collects the oxygen measurement from the leads. 

Where is it done? Transcutaneous oximetry is performed at many non-invasive vascular laboratories in conjunction with Doppler ultrasounds, Due to technology and time constraints this usually only involves rudimentary oxygen testing (above knee, below knee, & foot). 

Optimally, especially patients with diabetes who have isolated “small vessel disease”, the transcutaneous oximeter is used to create an “oxygen map” of the oxygen delivery at several locations near the wound in question (commonly toes and heel).