Assessment of intracranial hemodynamics in sleep apnea syndrome.
Sleep apnea syndrome may lead to changes in cerebral hemodynamics due to altered alveolar ventilation. We investigated the dynamics of CO2- and blood pressure-regulated alterations of cerebral blood flow velocities during apneic episodes and evaluated CO2 reactivity during different sleep stages.
A computer-assisted pulsed Doppler system (2 MHz) was used for continuous overnight recordings of middle cerebral artery flow patterns together with simultaneous polysomnography, continuous blood pressure recordings, and measurements of end-expiratory CO2 in six patients with sleep apnea syndrome.
Increases in mean flow velocity of 19-219% and in blood pressure of 12.5-83.1% could be observed during the apneic episodes, with maximum increases during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. CO2 reactivity was in the normal range (4.4 +/- 1.2%) in the waking state and was markedly increased during sleep stages 1 and 2 (p less than 0.005 compared with awake). The greatest increase was found during REM sleep, with a rise of up to three times the waking value (p less than 0.0001 compared with sleep stage 2).
The changes of mean flow velocity could be interpreted as reactive adaptation processes because of CO2 and blood pressure increases corresponding to apnea. The increased CO2 reactivity during sleep may indicate a "hypersensitivity" of intracranial vascular CO2 or pH receptors and a disturbance of central catecholaminergic and cholinergic systems. The pronounced velocity changes during apneic episodes and the concomitant alterations of vessel wall tension might lead to microangiopathies and macroangiopathies due to chronic strain on the brain vessels.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association