Comparison of cerebrovascular reactivity tests: a pilot human study

Michael Bodo, Richard Mahon, Alex Razumovsky, Efim Kouperberg, Michael Crimmins, Rocco Armonda, Martin Baruch


In neurosurgery intensive care units, cerebrovascular reactivity tests for neuromonitoring are used to evaluate the status of cerebral blood flow autoregulation; lack of autoregulation indicates a poor patient outcome. The goal of neuromonitoring is to prevent secondary injuries following a primary central nervous system injury, when the brain is vulnerable to further compromise due to hypoxia, ischemia and disturbances in cerebral blood flow and intracranial pressure. Ideally, neuromonitoring would be noninvasive and continuous. This study compares cerebrovascular reactivity monitored by rheoencephalography, a noninvasive continuous monitoring modality, to cerebrovascular reactivity measured by currently used neuromonitoring modalities: transcranial Doppler, near infrared spectroscopy and laser Doppler flowmetry. Fourteen healthy volunteer subjects were measured. The tests used for comparison of cerebrovascular reactivity were breath-holding, hyperventilation, CO2 inhalation, the Valsalva maneuver, and the Trendelenburg and reverse Trendelenburg positions. Data for all modalities measured were recorded by computers and processed off line. All measured modalities reflected cerebrovascular reactivity with variabilities. Breath-holding, CO2 inhalation, and the Valsalva maneuver caused CO2 increase and consequent brain vasodilatation; hyperventilation caused CO2 decrease and brain vasoconstriction. The Trendelenburg and reverse Trendelenburg positions caused extracranial blood volume changes, which masked intracranial cerebrovascular reactivity. The hyperventilation test proved ineffective for measuring cerebrovascular reactivity with rheoencephalography due to respiratory artifacts. Some discrepancies among the various modalities tested were observed. Further validation studies are under preparation to test the applicability of rheoencephalography for noninvasive continuous brain monitoring, including enhanced computational methods, animal studies and clinical monitoring studies of humans.


cerebrovascular reactivity, REG, TCD, NIRS, LDF, human

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