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A perfusion pump, c. 1935, an early device for simulating natural perfusion

In physiology, perfusion is the process of a body delivering blood to a capillary bed in its biological tissue. The word is derived from the French verb "perfuser" meaning to "pour over or through."

Tests verifying that adequate perfusion exists are a part of a patient's assessment process that are performed by medical or emergency personnel. The most common methods include evaluating a body's skin color, temperature, condition and capillary refill.

Overperfusion and underperfusion[edit]

The terms "overperfusion" and "underperfusion" are measured relative to the average level of perfusion that exists across all the tissues in an individual body, and should not be confused with hypoperfusion and "hyperperfusion", which measure the perfusion level relative to a tissue's current need to meet its metabolic needs.

Heart tissues, for example, are usually classified as being overperfused because they normally are receiving more blood than the rest of tissues in the organism. In the case of skin cells, extra blood flow in them is used for thermoregulation of a body. In addition to delivering oxygen, blood flow helps to dissipate heat in a physical body by redirecting warm blood closer to its surface where it can help to cool a body through sweating and thermal dissipation.


In 1920, August Krogh was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovering the mechanism of regulation of capillaries in skeletal muscle. Krogh was the first to describe the adaptation of blood perfusion in muscle and other organs according to demands through the opening and closing of arterioles and capillaries.[citation needed]


Nuclear medicine[edit]

Perfusion of various tissues can be readily measured in vivo with nuclear medicine methods which are mainly positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).[citation needed] Various radiopharmaceuticals targeted at specific organs are also available, some of the most common are


Two main categories of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques can be used to measure tissue perfusion in vivo.


Brain perfusion (more correctly transit times) can be estimated with contrast-enhanced computed tomography.[citation needed]

Thermal diffusion[edit]

Perfusion can be determined by measuring the total thermal diffusion and then separating it into thermal conductivity and perfusion components.[1] rCBFis usually measured continuously in time. It is necessary to stop the measurement periodically to cool down and reassess the thermal conductivity.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ P. Vajkoczy, H. Roth, P. Horn, T. Lucke, C. Thome, U. Hubner, G. T. Martin, C. Zappletal, E. Klar, L. Schilling, and P. Schmiedek, “Continuous monitoring of regional cerebral blood flow: experimental and clinical validation of a novel thermal diffusion microprobe,” J. Neurosurg., vol. 93, no. 2, pp. 265–274, Aug. 2000. [

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