Laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) is based on the principle that a Doppler shift occurs when coherent light is scattered by a moving object, i.e. red blood cell (RBC). The magnitude of these frequency shifts affects the optical beating that occurs w hen shifted and non-shifted light is mixed. Based on the optical beating, an LDF perfusion measure is calculated. However, the measure is not only sensitive to the RBC velocity and concentration, but also to the photon path Jength in tissue and the scattering characteristics of the RBC. The Jatter two are both govemed by the optical properties (OP), attributes that differ both within and between individuals.
The aim of this thesis was to evaluate how the RBC and tissue OP affect the LDF perfusion measure, and to propose methods that partly correct for these errors. Phantom measurements and Monte Carlo simulations showed that the LDF perfusion was significantly affected by variations in OP relevant to skin, especially when comparing individual readings. Simulations revealed that the variations in OP affected the LDF perfusion and the photon path length in a similar manner. This suggests that a path length normalised measure would decrease the OP induced variations, possibly enabling accurate intra and inter-individual comparisons of LDF perfusion measures in different organs.
A path length estimation technique, based on spatially diffuse reflectance, is proposed and evaluated. Monte Carlo simulations showed that the algorithm predicted the photon path length with an rms error of less than 5%. In vivo measurement (11 subjects) displayed a longer estimated path length (~35%) for the fingertip compared to the forearm. Comparing individual measurements from similar locations, variations up to 40% (max/min) were found. These findings clearly indicate the need for a path length normalization when comparing LDF readings.
The LDF Doppler spectrum is govemed by the RBC velocity distribution and its phase function. In this thesis, an approach is presented where a measured LDF Doppler spectrum is decomposed using a number of theoretical, single-velocity spectra. As a result, a velocity-resolved perfusion measure is achieved. As the blood flow velocity depends on the dimension of the blood vessel, this approach has the potential to differentiate between arteriole/ venule and capillary activity. In addition, the path length estimation technique and the RBC scattering theory, presented in this thesis, provides a promising step towards an absolute perfusion measure.
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2004. , 64 p.