Cerebral autoregulation is impaired in cardioinhibitory carotid sinus syndrome

Heart. 2006 Jun;92(6):792-7. doi: 10.1136/hrt.2004.053348. Epub 2006 Jan 31.


Objectives: To compare changes in cerebral autoregulation in response to controlled, lower body negative pressure-induced hypotension in patients with carotid sinus syndrome (CSS) and case controls.

Design: Prospective case controlled study.

Setting: Secondary and tertiary referral falls and syncope service.

Patients: 17 consecutive patients with CSS and 11 asymptomatic controls.

Interventions: Hypotension insufficient to cause syncope induced by lower body negative pressure (minimum 30 mm Hg fall in systolic blood pressure (SBP)) during concomitant transcranial Doppler ultrasonography.

Main outcome measures: Cerebral autoregulation (systolic, diastolic and mean middle cerebral arterial blood flow velocities and cerebrovascular resistance) with continuous end-tidal carbon dioxide and haemodynamic monitoring.

Results: Cerebral autoregulatory indices differed significantly between patients with CSS and controls. Systolic, diastolic and middle cerebral arterial blood flow velocities were, respectively, 9.2 m/s (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.9 to 15.4 m/s), 4.7 m/s (95% CI 1.5 to 7.9 m/s) and 6.9 m/s (95% CI 2.5 to 11.4 m/s) slower in patients with CSS. Cerebrovascular resistance was significantly greater in patients with CSS than in controls at SBP nadir and suction release; differences were 0.9 mm Hg/m/s (95% CI 0.0 to 1.7 mm Hg/m/s) and 0.8 mm Hg/m/s (95% CI 0.0 to 1.7 mm Hg/m/s), respectively. End-tidal carbon dioxide and systemic haemodynamic variables were similar for patients and controls at baseline and during lower body negative pressure.

Conclusions: Cerebral autoregulation is altered in patients with CSS. This difference may have aetiological implications in the differential presentation with falls and drop attacks rather than syncope.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / etiology*
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / physiopathology
  • Lower Body Negative Pressure
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Syncope / etiology
  • Syncope / physiopathology*
  • Tilt-Table Test
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology
  • Vasoconstriction / physiology