Cerebral blood flow, cerebral blood volume, and cerebrovascular reactivity after severe head injury

G. J. Bouma, Jan Paul Muizelaar

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217 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) often causes disturbances of the cerebrovascular circulation, which contribute to the infliction of secondary injury, although the complex nature of the mechanisms involved is not fully understood. First, the role of ischemia in TBI is still controversial. Despite experimental and pathologic data suggesting important interactions between ischemia and trauma, evidence for posttraumatic ischemia with CBF measurements in patients so far had eluded most investigators. Recent data, however, indicate that low CBF and ischemia probably only occur within the first few hours after injury, yet have important impact on neurologic status and outcome. Similarly, the clinical significance of posttraumatic hyperemia is unclear. A relationship between raised intracranial pressure (ICP) and hyperemia has been suspected, but reports have not been consistent, possibly due to a dissociation between CBF and CBV in head-injured patients. Measurements of CBV in the acute stage of severe head injury now have confirmed this concept, and also suggest that increased CBV may contribute to brain stiffness and elevated ICP. Impairment of cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity and autoregulation often occurs after TBI. Although no correlation with the severity of injury or outcome has been established, it is obvious that diminished adaptive responses of the cerebral vasculature render the brain more vulnerable to additional systemic insults, such as derangements of blood pressure, altered rheology, or hypoxia. The posttraumatic status of vascular reactivity and autoregulation also has important implications with regard to the treatment of high ICP, in particular for the use of hyperventilation and pharmacologic management of blood pressure, which are discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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