This paper reviews the current literature concerning the different investigative modalities available to assess the microcirculation in diabetic microangiopathy. The advantages and disadvantages of the different invasive and noninvasive methods available are presented objectively. We have concentrated on the tests that provide a quantitative assessment of the microcirculation, including laser Doppler fluxmetry, capillary microscopy, plethysmography, transcutaneous oximetry and radioactive isotope clearance. Some of the invasive methods described are now being replaced by noninvasive equivalents, providing similar information with less discomfort and risk to the patient.
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