Analysis of Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound Waveform Morphology for the Assessment of Cerebrovascular Hemodynamics
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The use of transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound for the assessment of cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) provides an indication of cerebral blood flow assuming the diameter of the insonated vessel remains constant. Studies using TCD have traditionally described cerebrovascular hemodynamics with respect to CBFV and cerebrovascular resistance (CVRi); however, a more complete assessment of the cerebral circulation can be gleaned from the analysis of within beat characteristic of the TCD velocity waveform for the determination of cerebrovascular tone. Therefore, the general purpose of the presented studies was to assess CBFV responses and within beat characteristic for the description of cerebrovascular hemodynamics after long duration spaceflight, with sustained orthostasis, in response to changes in the partial pressure of end tidal carbon dioxide (PETCO2), and with NG stimulation. After long duration spaceflight, cerebrovascular autoregulation was found to be impaired along with a reduction in cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity (Study 1). Additionally, critical closing pressure (CrCP) was found to be increased suggesting potential remodelling of the cerebrovasculature contributing to an increase in cerebrovascular tone (Study 2). With sustained orthostasis, CBFV was found to progressively decrease and to be related to reductions in PETCO2 and increases in CrCP suggesting the contribution of changes in cerebrovascular tone leading to the development of syncope (Study 4). The CBFV reduction with the progression towards syncope was also associated with changes in waveform morphology such that the dicrotic notch point was less than the end diastolic value (Study 3). Mathematical modelling (RCKL) was used to further assess changes in cerebrovascular hemodynamics for physiological interpretation of changes in CBFV waveform morphology and found that the amplitude of the dicrotic notch and the calculation of the augmentation index were both significantly related to vascular compliance before and after stimulation with NG (Study 5). The use of quantitative assessments of common carotid artery (CCA) blood flow as an indicator of cerebral blood flow suggested the dilation of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) with NG (Study 5 and 6) and changes in MCA diameter with acute alterations in PETCO2 (Study 6). CCA and MCA velocity wave morphology were assessed showing that with changes in PETCO2, changes in CBFV velocity wave were not reflected in the CCA trace (Study 7). In addition, further assessment of the CBFV velocity trace and the calculation of CrCP and the augmentation index suggested that with changes in PETCO2 cerebrovascular compliance and cerebrovascular tension, both thought to be components of cerebrovascular tone, change independently (Study 7). Combined, the results of the presented studies suggest that changes in cerebrovascular hemodynamics can be determined from alterations in the CBFV velocity waveform morphology. However, further work is required to determine how these variations relate to specific components of cerebrovascular tone, including alterations in cerebrovascular compliance and vascular tension, and how these variables change with acute and chronic alterations in cerebrovascular hemodynamics.