Cerebral hemodynamics in ischemic cerebrovascular disease

Ann Neurol. 1991 Mar;29(3):231-40. doi: 10.1002/ana.410290302.


During the past decade, technological advances have made it possible to measure regional cerebral hemodynamics in individual patients. Studies performed with these techniques have demonstrated that the degree of carotid stenosis correlates poorly with the hemodynamic status of the ipsilateral cerebral circulation. The primary determinant of cerebral perfusion pressure and blood flow under these circumstances is the adequacy of collateral circulatory pathways. Since collateral circulation varies from patient to patient, there is no critical degree of carotid stenosis that consistently produces hemodynamic compromise of the cerebral circulation. It is, thus, time to abandon the concept of the hemodynamically significant carotid stenosis as it relates to the pathogenesis and treatment of cerebrovascular disease. Measurements of regional cerebral hemodynamics have provided new insight into the pathogenesis of transient ischemic attacks and generated some preliminary data on the prognostic and therapeutic importance of chronic reductions in regional cerebral perfusion pressure. Further investigations into the importance of hemodynamic factors in ischemic stroke can now be based on accurate assessment of cerebral (not carotid or vertebrobasilar) hemodynamics in the context of other coexisting epidemiological, clinical, hematological, and angiographic risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed