Can we assess dynamic cerebral autoregulation in stroke patients with high rates of cardiac ectopicity?
Llwyd O., Haunton V., Salinet ASM., Nath M., Lam MY., Saeed NP., Brodie F., Robinson TG., Panerai RB.
It is unclear whether physiological recordings containing high numbers of ectopic heartbeats can be used to measure the cerebral autoregulation (CA) of blood flow. This study evaluated the utility of such data for assessing dynamic CA capacity. Physiological recordings of cerebral blood flow velocity, heart rate, end-tidal CO2 and beat-to-beat blood pressure from acute ischaemic stroke (AIS) patients (n = 46) containing ectopic heartbeats of varying number (0.2 to 25 occurrences per minute) were analysed. Dynamic CA was determined using the autoregulation index (ARI) and the normalised mean square error (NMSE) was used to evaluate the fitting of the step response between BP and CBFV to Tiecks' model. We fitted linear mixed models on the CA variables incorporating ectopic burden, age, sex and hemisphere as predictor variables. Ectopic activity demonstrated an association with mean coherence (p = 0.006) but not with ARI (p = 0.162), impaired CA based on dichotomised ARI (p = 0.859) or NMSE (p = 0.671). Dynamic CA could be reliably assessed in AIS patients using physiological recordings with high rates of cardiac ectopic activity. This provides supportive data for future studies evaluating CA capability in AIS patients, with the potential to develop more individualised treatment strategies. Graphical Abstract.