Introduction: This study evaluated the correlation between skin blood flow and systemic blood flow and whether skin blood flow can determine the circulatory effects of dopamine and dobutamine on blood flow in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. Methods: This study was a subanalysis of the PICC-MBF randomized controlled trial. The correlation between skin blood flow and echocardiographic findings was examined. Changes in skin blood flow and blood pressure before and after initiation or dose increase of dopamine and dobutamine were also evaluated. Results: Two hundred and thirty-four participants underwent echocardiography. Skin blood flow was significantly correlated with supra vena cava (SVC) flow (r = 0.31, p < 0.001). Receiver operator characteristic analysis revealed that skin blood flow <17 mL/min effectively detected SVC flow <41 mL/min (area under the curve = 0.83, p < 0.001). Dobutamine significantly increased skin blood flow after initiation or dose increase (p = 0.033) without increasing blood pressure. However, dopamine significantly increased both skin blood flow (p = 0.010) and blood pressure (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our findings indicated that skin blood flow could be used as a surrogate marker of systemic blood flow in VLBW infants and revealed differences in the effects of dopamine and dobutamine on circulation.

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