Object: Mild cerebral venous circulation disturbances (CVCDs) in aged patients are frequently known to cause unexpectedly severe postoperative complications in neurosurgical practice. The object of the present study was to determine whether there are age-related differences involved in vulnerability to CVCDs.
Methods: Thirty-eight male Wistar rats were used. A single cortical vein with a 100-microm diameter was occluded photochemically by using rose bengal dye and fiberoptic illumination in young (Group Y, 19 animals aged 10-14 weeks) and aged (Group A, seven animals aged 80-100 weeks) rats. Five young and seven aged animals served as sham-operated controls. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was determined from local CBF, which was measured at 25 (5 x 5) identical locations, with the occluded vein located central to the scanning field, by using a laser Doppler scanning technique every 15 minutes for 90 minutes after venous occlusion. The cerebral venous flow pattern was examined using fluorescence angiography until 90 minutes after occlusion. Histological specimens were examined 24 hours after occlusion. In Group Y, rCBF did not change significantly after venous occlusion. However, in Group A, rCBF decreased rapidly beginning 15 minutes after occlusion. Significant intergroup differences were observed 30, 60, and 90 minutes after occlusion. Venous flow arrest, which resulted in venous infarct, was observed on angiography 90 minutes after occlusion in two (10.5%) of 19 young and six (85.7%) of seven aged rats. The venous thrombus in Group A rats was significantly larger than that in Group Y rats 90 minutes after occlusion. Venous infarction was seen in all aged rats (100%) and in six young rats (31.6%); the infarct size, expressed as a percentage of the size of the ipsilateral hemisphere, was significantly larger in aged rats than in young rats.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated an age-related increase in the rate and size of venous infarct following vein occlusion, suggesting that the greater vulnerability to CVCDs in the aged brain might be attributed to early and extensive hypoperfusion of circumscribed brain areas drained by the occluded vein. The larger thrombus formation in aged animals indicates that a shift in the thrombogenetic/thrombolytic equilibrium is responsible for the observed effect.