Dynamic Autoregulation of Cerebral Blood Flow Measured Non-invasively with Fast Diffuse Correlation Spectroscopy

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Cerebral blood flow, cerebral autoregulation, noninvasive monitoring, intrinsic optical imaging, neurocritical care

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Cerebral autoregulation (CA) maintains cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the presence of systemic blood pressure changes. Brain injury can cause loss of CA and resulting dysregulation of CBF, and the degree of CA impairment is a functional indicator of cerebral tissue health. Here, we demonstrate a new approach to noninvasively estimate cerebral autoregulation in healthy adult volunteers. The approach employs pulsatile CBF measurements obtained using high-speed diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS). Rapid thigh-cuff deflation initiates a chain of responses that permits estimation of rates of dynamic autoregulation in the cerebral microvasculature. The regulation rate estimated with DCS in the microvasculature (median: 0.26 s−1, inter quartile range: 0.19 s−1) agrees well (R = 0.81, slope = 0.9) with regulation rates measured by transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD) in the proximal vasculature (median: 0.28 s−1, inter quartile range: 0.10 s−1). We also obtained an index of systemic autoregulation in concurrently measured scalp microvasculature. Systemic autoregulation begins later than cerebral autoregulation and exhibited a different rate (0.55 s−1, inter quartile range: 0.72 s−1). Our work demonstrates the potential of diffuse correlation spectroscopy for bedside monitoring of cerebral autoregulation in the microvasculature of patients with brain injury.

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Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, v. 38, issue 2, p. 230-240