Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Biomedical Simulations Resource (BMSR) at the University of Southern
California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
Cerebral Flow Autoregulation (CFA) is the dynamic process by which cerebral blood flow is maintained within physiologically acceptable bounds during fluctuations of cerebral perfusion pressure. The distinction is made with “static” flow autoregulation under steady-state conditions of perfusion pressure, described by the celebrated “autoregulatory curve” with a homeostatic plateau. This paper studies the dynamic CFA during changes in perfusion pressure, which attains critical clinical importance in patients with stroke, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disease with a cerebrovascular component. Mathematical and computational models have been used to advance our quantitative understanding of dynamic CFA and to elucidate the underlying physiological mechanisms by analyzing the relation between beat-to-beat data of mean arterial blood pressure (viewed as input) and mean cerebral blood flow velocity(viewed as output) of a putative CFA system. Although previous studies have shown that the dynamic CFA process is nonlinear, most modeling studies to date have been linear. It has also been shown that blood CO2 tension affects the CFA process. This paper presents a nonlinear modeling methodology that includes the dynamic effects of CO2 tension (or its surrogate, end-tidal CO2) as a second input and quantifies CFA from short data-records of healthy human subjects by use of the modeling concept of Principal Dynamic Modes (PDMs). The PDMs improve the robustness of the obtained nonlinear models and facilitate their physiological interpretation. The results demonstrate the importance of including the CO2 input in the dynamic CFA study and the utility of nonlinear models under hypercapnic or hypocapnic conditions.
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