Assessment of cerebral autoregulation dynamics from simultaneous arterial and venous transcranial Doppler recordings in humans.
We investigated the validity of transcranial Doppler recordings for the analysis of dynamic responses of cerebral autoregulation. We found no significant differences in percentage changes among maximal (centerline) blood flow velocity, cross-sectional mean blood flow velocity, and signal power-estimated blood flow during 24-mm Hg stepwise changes in arterial blood pressure. We investigated blood flow propagation delays in the cerebral circulation with simultaneous Doppler recordings from the middle cerebral artery and the straight sinus. The time for a stepwise decrease in blood flow to propagate through the cerebral circulation was only 200 msec. Brief (1.37-second) carotid artery compression tests also demonstrated that the volume compliance effects of the cerebral vascular bed were small, only about 2.2% of normal blood flow in 1 second. Furthermore, transients associated with inertial and volume compliance died out after 108 msec. We also investigated the hypothesis that autoregulatory responses are influenced by hyperventilation using the same brief carotid artery compressions. One second after release, the flow index increased by 17% during normocapnia and 36% during hypocapnia. After 5 seconds, the flow index demonstrated a clear oscillatory response during hypocapnia that was not seen during normocapnia. These results suggest that the intact human cerebral circulation in the absence of pharmacological influences does not function as predicted from pial vessel observations in animals.