Fick's laws of diffusion, tissue oxygenation, chronic ischemic wounds



  1. Azocar, Jose MD, DSc


OBJECTIVE: To develop a novel technique for increasing skin oxygenation based on diffusion principles and Fick's laws of diffusion.


METHODS: A device that allows the creation of an oxygen-depleted environment immediately to the skin while simultaneously allowing measurement of the transcutaneous oxygen tension (TcPo2) levels was created. This device forms an oxygen gradient from the capillary bed of the subcutaneous tissue, through the skin's semipermeable membrane, and toward the oxygen-depleted enclosed environment. A healthy adult subject was fitted with the device. Once baseline TcPo2 levels were recorded, the oxygen concentration within the device was lowered, and TcPo2 levels were monitored. Effects were also studied when subjects breathed 100% oxygen for 5 minutes.


RESULTS: Oxygen levels in the device decreased in accordance with increases in skin TcPo2 levels measured within the device.


CONCLUSIONS: The application of this technique results in an increase in oxygen concentration in the skin and subcutaneous tissue in healthy subjects with normal, well-perfused skin. Whether this novel technique produces an increase in the skin oxygenation of subjects with inappropriate tissue oxygenation and chronic wounds requires further study.