Identifying a sublingual triangle as the ideal site for assessment of sublingual microcirculation

Zühre Uz*, Olcay Dilken, Dan M.J. Milstein, Matthias Peter Hilty, David de Haan, Yasin Ince, Lucinda Shen, Julia Houtzager, Lotte C. Franken, Thomas M. van Gulik, Can Ince

*Corresponding author for this work

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The sublingual mucosa is a commonly used intraoral location for identifying microcirculatory alterations using handheld vital microscopes (HVMs). The anatomic description of the sublingual cave and its related training have not been adequately introduced. The aim of this study was to introduce anatomy guided sublingual microcirculatory assessment. Measurements were acquired from the floor of the mouth using incident dark-field (IDF) imaging before (T0) and after (T1) sublingual cave anatomy instructed training. Instructions consists of examining a specific region of interested identified through observable anatomical structures adjacent and bilaterally to the lingual frenulum which is next to the sublingual papilla. The anatomical location called the sublingual triangle, was identified as stationed between the lingual frenulum, the sublingual fold and ventrally to the tongue. Small, large, and total vessel density datasets (SVD, LVD and TVD respectively) obtained by non-instructed and instructed measurements (NIN (T0) and IM (T1) respectively) were compared. Microvascular structures were analyzed, and the presence of salivary duct-related microcirculation was identified. A total of 72 video clips were used for analysis in which TVD, but not LVD and SVD, was higher in IM compared to NIM (NIM vs. IM, 25 ± 2 vs. 27 ± 3 mm/mm2 (p = 0.044), LVD NIM vs. IM: 7 ± 1 vs. 8 ± 1mm/mm2 (p = 0.092), SVD NIM vs. IM: 18 ± 2 vs. 20 ± 3 mm/mm2 (p = 0.103)). IM resulted in microcirculatory assessments which included morphological properties such as capillaries, venules and arterioles, without salivary duct-associated microcirculation. The sublingual triangle identified in this study showed consistent network-based microcirculation, without interference from microcirculation associated with specialized anatomic structures. These findings suggest that the sublingual triangle, an anatomy guided location, yielded sublingual based measurements that conforms with international guidelines. IM showed higher TVD values, and future studies are needed with larger sample sizes to prove differences in microcirculatory parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-649
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is funded through internal department funds.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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