Direct measurement of capillary blood pressure in the human lip

S. E. Parazynski, B. J. Tucker, M. Aratow, A. Crenshaw, A. R. Hargens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In this study, we developed and tested a new procedure for measuring microcirculatory blood pressures above heart level in humans. Capillary and postcapillary venule blood pressures were measured directly in 13 human subjects by use of the servo-nulling micropressure technique adapted for micropuncture of lip capillaries. Pressure waveforms were recorded in 40 separate capillary vessels and 14 separate postcapillary venules over periods ranging from 5 to 64 s. Localization and determination of capillary and postcapillary vessels were ascertained anatomically before pressure measurements. Capillary pressure was 33.2 ± 1.5 (SE) mmHg in lips of subjects seated upright. Repeated micropunctures of the same vessel gave an average coefficient of variation of 0.072. Postcapillary venule pressure was 18.9 ± 1.6 mmHg. This procedure produces a direct and reproducible means of measuring microvascular blood pressures in a vascular bed above heart level in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)946-950
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993


  • microcirculation
  • micropipette
  • micropressures
  • postcapillary venule pressure
  • servo-nulling technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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