Orthostatic changes of cerebral blood flow velocity in patients with autonomic dysfunction

J Neurol Sci. 1991 Jul;104(1):32-8. doi: 10.1016/0022-510x(91)90212-p.


Simultaneous registrations of intracranial blood flow velocity parameters achieved by transcranial Doppler sonography and basic cardiovascular parameters were carried out during orthostatic changes in normal controls, diabetic patients and patients with pandysautonomia. Normal subjects had a rapid increase in heart rate at a constant blood pressure and a slight decrease in cerebral blood flow velocities associated with a mild increase of the pulsatility index (PI) after being tilted from a horizontal to a vertical position. Diabetics showed a fixed heart rate reflecting the disturbed autonomic innervation but only minor changes of cerebral blood flow velocity, which is similar to normal cerebrovascular autonomic regulation. Patients with pandysautonomia had a fixed heart rate associated with a decrease of systemic blood pressure but a failure of compensatory cerebral autoregulation to maintain normal flow velocity values after standing up. The results suggest that in diabetics cerebrovascular autonomic regulation is intact in contrast to cardiac autonomic function, while in patients with pandysautonomia both functions are disturbed. Criteria for the interpretation of autonomic regulatory mechanisms involved in cerebrovascular flow measurements are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Posture
  • Syncope / physiopathology