Microcirculation and blood stasis
The microcirculation is the terminal branching network of the vessels consisting of microvessels with diameters <100 µm. Vessels of the microcirculation are almost entirely lined by endothelial cells (EC) to keep the entirety of the network. This network cannot be seen by our eyes due to its small sizes and it comprises arterioles, post-capillary venules, capillaries, and their cellular constituents (blood cells) including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The lymphatic capillaries carry the extravascular fluid into the venous system. These vessels distribute blood to the body’s tissues and are the site where exchanges of oxygen and nutrients, solutes, hormones and inflammatory cells occurs between blood and tissue to provide energy for tissue function and mediate the functional activity of the immune system and hemostasis.
Microcirculation dysfunction causes tissue injury, organ impairment and dysfunction. In Chinese medicine this is known as blood stasis which means that the blood is not flowing or circulating as optimally as it could to all parts of the body. Microcirculation dysfunction will result in energy deprivation, oxidative stress to the cardiovascular system and the tissues, as a consequence, tissue injury and impairment in related organs.