Second sensor to improve near-infrared spectroscopy flap monitor utility: A prospective study

Jonathan Harper, Emily Slade, Adrianne Cornette, Alexandra E. Kejner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study assesses whether use of continuous noninvasive near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) sensor on head and neck free flap (FF) with a second sensor on nonoperated tissue improves distinction between systemic hypoperfusion and FF compromise. Methods: Single-institution, prospective study of patients undergoing head and neck FF reconstruction from December 2018 to April 2020. FFs were continuously monitored using NIRS on a monitor paddle with a second (control) sensor on the shoulder. Crude StO2 and percent change in StO2 were compared between the FF and control sensors on each patient, and percent change and percent difference between the control and the monitor paddle were documented to assess for congruity. Sentinel events (e.g., hypotension and hematoma) were documented to assess the association with change in StO2. These events and timing of StO2 changes were noted to assess associations with change in StO2. Results: A total of 48 patients had complete data. Donor sites included 35 soft-tissue FFs and 13 fibula FFs. Average StO2 was 73.7 ± 5.5 for FFs and 71.4 ± 5.0 for control sensors. There were seven sentinel events during the study. At the time of the events, StO2 dropped significantly more for the FF than the control sensor (FF = 52.2% drop; control = 6.2% drop; p =.016). NIRS signal denoted change prior to changes in implantable arterial Doppler in all cases. Conclusions: The addition of a second sensor when using NIRS as a primary modality for FF monitoring may improve distinction between FF compromise events and systemic hypoperfusion. By increasing accuracy of the monitor, there is a potential for decreased resident burden and decreased use of higher level of care nursing, which could reduce overall costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31142
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024

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© 2024 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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