MRI study of cerebral blood flow and CSF flow dynamics in an upright posture: the effect of posture on the intracranial compliance and pressure

Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2005;95:177-81. doi: 10.1007/3-211-32318-x_38.


Postural related changes in cerebral hemodynamics and hydrodynamics were studied using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) measurements of cerebral blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow dynamics. Ten healthy volunteers (mean age 29 +/- 7) were studied in supine and upright (sitting) postures. A Cine phase-contrast MRI technique was used to image the pulsatile blood flow to the brain, the venous outflow through the internal jugular, epidural, and vertebral veins, and the bi-directional CSF flow between the cranium and the spinal canal. Previously published analyses were applied to calculate and compare total cerebral blood flow (TCBF), intracranial compliance and pressure in both postures. A lower (12%) mean TCBF was measured in the upright position compared to supine position. A considerable smaller amount of CSF flow between the cranium and the spinal canal (58%), a much larger intracranial compliance (a 2.8-fold increase), and a corresponding decrease in the MRI-derived ICP were also measured in the sitting position. These changes suggest that the increased cerebrovascular and intracranial compliances in the upright posture are primarily due to reduced amounts of blood and CSF residing in their respective intracranial compartments in the upright position. This work demonstrates the ability to quantify neurophysiologic parameters associated with regulation of cerebral hemodynamics and hydrodynamics from dynamic MR imaging of blood and CSF flows.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Adult
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology*
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Intracranial Pressure / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology*