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Bench-to-bedside review: Microdialysis in intensive care medicine

Stephan Klaus*, Matthias Heringlake and Ludger Bahlmann

Author Affiliations

Department of Anaesthesiology, Medical University of Luebeck, Luebeck, Germany

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Critical Care 2004, 8:363-368  doi:10.1186/cc2882

Published: 3 June 2004


Microdialysis is a technique used to measure the concentrations of various compounds in the extracellular fluid of an organ or in a body fluid. It is a form of metabolic monitoring that provides real-time, continuous information on pathophysiological processes in target organs. It was introduced in the early 1970s, mainly to measure concentrations of neurotransmitters in animal experiments and clinical settings. Using commercial equipment it is now possible to conduct analyses at the bedside by collecting interstitial fluid for measurement of carbohydrate and lipid metabolites. Important research has been reported in the field of neurosurgery in recent decades, but use of metabolic monitoring in critical care medicine is not yet routine. The present review provides an overview of findings from clinical studies using microdialysis in critical care medicine, focusing on possible indications for clinical biochemical monitoring. An important message from the review is that sequential and tissue-specific metabolic monitoring, in vivo, is now available.

critical care; metabolism; microdialysis; monitoring