Photoplethysmographic Documentation of Improved Microcirculation After Pentoxifylline Therapy

Roeren, Thomas; LeVeen, Robert F.; Nugent, Loree
November 1988
Angiology;Nov1988, Vol. 39 Issue 11, p929
Academic Journal
Pentoxifylline is the prototype of a new class of drugs that improve peripheral blood flow mainly by increasing red blood cell flexibility. Few studies have been performed to objectively evaluate the effect of the drug in a routine clinical setting. In 11 patients with intermittent claudication, photoplethysmography was used to monitor the effect of pentoxifylline on the microcirculation in the lower extremities. Values obtained improved significantly (p < .0001) under therapy. Concomitant measurements of ankle-brachial indices showed no significant changes despite clinical improvement. Diabetic patients in this study seemed to benefit from treatment with pentoxifylline at least as much as nondiabetic patients. Photoplethysmography proved to be a very effecient and inexpensive method of studying the effects of pentoxifylline. Ankle-brachial indices are not a suitable method of detecting flow changes attributable to the mechanism of action of this drug.


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