Cerebrovascular and cardiovascular responses to graded tilt in patients with autonomic failure.

date: 09/28/1997
author: Bondar RL, Dunphy PT, Moradshahi P, Kassam MS, Blaber AP, Stein F, Freeman R.
publication: Stroke. 1997 Sep;28(9):1677-85.
pubmed_ID: 9303009
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Patients with autonomic nervous system failure often experience symptoms of orthostatic intolerance while standing. It is not known whether these episodes are caused primarily by a reduced ability to regulate arterial blood pressure or whether changes in cerebral autoregulation may also be implicated. METHODS: Eleven patients and eight healthy age- and sex-matched control subjects were studied during a graded-tilt protocol. Changes in their steady state middle cerebral artery mean flow velocities (MFV), measured by transcranial Doppler, brain-level mean arterial blood pressures (MABPbrain), and the relationship between the two were assessed. RESULTS: Significant differences between patients and control subjects (P < .05) were found in both their MFV and MABPbrain responses to tilt. Patients’ MFV dropped from 60 +/- 10.2 cm/s in the supine position to 44 +/- 14.0 cm/s at 60 degrees head-up tilt, whereas MABPbrain fell from 109 +/- 11.7 to 42 +/- 16.9 mm Hg. By comparison, controls’ MFV dropped from 54 +/- 7.8 cm/s supine to 51 +/- 8.8 cm/s at 60 degrees, whereas MABPbrain went from 90 +/- 11.2 to 67 +/- 8.2 mm Hg. Linear regression showed no significant difference in the MFV-MABPbrain relationship between patients and control subjects, with slopes of 0.228 +/- 0.09 cm.s-1.mm Hg-1 for patients and 0.136 +/- 0.16 cm.s-1.mm Hg-1 for control subjects. CONCLUSIONS: The present study found significant differences between patients and control subjects in their MFV and MABPbrain responses to tilt but no difference in the autoregulatory MFV-MABPbrain relationship. These results suggest that patients’ decreased orthostatic tolerance may primarily be the result of impaired blood pressure regulation rather than a deficiency in cerebral autoregulation.