Non-Invasive Mapping of Cerebral Autoregulation Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy: A Study Protocol


The ability of cerebral vessels to maintain a fairly constant cerebral blood flow is referred to as cerebral autoregulation (CA). Using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) paired with arterial blood pressure (ABP) monitoring, continuous CA can be assessed non-invasively. Recent advances in NIRS technology can help improve the understanding of continuously assessed CA in humans with high spatial and temporal resolutions. We describe a study protocol for creating a new wearable and portable imaging system that derives CA maps of the entire brain with high sampling rates at each point. The first objective is to evaluate the CA mapping system’s performance during various perturbations using a block-trial design in 50 healthy volunteers. The second objective is to explore the impact of age and sex on regional disparities in CA using static recording and perturbation testing in 200 healthy volunteers. Using entirely non-invasive NIRS and ABP systems, we hope to prove the feasibility of deriving CA maps of the entire brain with high spatial and temporal resolutions. The development of this imaging system could potentially revolutionize the way we monitor brain physiology in humans since it would allow for an entirely non-invasive continuous assessment of regional differences in CA and improve our understanding of the impact of the aging process on cerebral vessel function.

Methods and Protocols