A Prospective Pilot Study of Vascular Assessment of the Upper Extremity With Laser Angiography

Helen G. Hui-Chou, Madhuli Y. Thakkar, Kenneth R. Means, James P. Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Our goal was to investigate patients’ upper extremity tissue perfusion changes using an indocyanine green laser angiography imaging system for various pathologic states and interventions. Methods: This prospective observational study used Spy Elite/LUNA laser angiography to evaluate perfusion in patients with upper extremity vascular compromise. All patients had Spy Elite/LUNA imaging as well as clinical and handheld Doppler examinations preintervention, intraoperatively, if applicable, and at 1 week, 2 weeks, and 2 months postintervention. For each laser angiography scan, we used an unaffected control area with uninjured skin to quantitatively compare with the dysvascular tissues. Results: Twelve patients, 7 men and 5 women, had a total of 16 upper extremities evaluated. The mean age was 53 years, and half of the patients entering the study were smokers. Etiologies of vascular compromise were trauma, primary and secondary vasospastic disease, scleroderma, and intravascular drug injection. Interventions included surgical repair/reconstruction, botulinum toxin injections, and/or systemic medications. Improvement in perfusion following intervention was statistically significant, demonstrated by an increase in Spy Elite/LUNA quantitative score postintervention compared with preintervention scans. Adjusting for other variables, such as smoking and handheld Doppler signal status, demonstrated an independent statistically significant increase in Spy Elite/LUNA scores at all postintervention time points compared with preintervention scores. Laser angiography was able to confirm adequate vascular status, with ultimate tissue survival, in some cases when Doppler signals were not initially present. Conclusions: Laser angiography provided objective data to document improved upper extremity tissue perfusion following various interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-876
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • SPY Elite
  • hand vascularity
  • indocyanine green
  • laser angiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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