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Stroke. 1993 Aug;24(8):1148-53.

Regional cerebral blood flow in chronic hypertension. A correlative study.

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  • 1Department of Motor Science (Neurophysiopathology), University of Genoa, Italy.



Cerebral hypoperfusion has occasionally been reported during essential hypertension. We explored regional cerebral blood flow in a large series of neurologically asymptomatic hypertensive patients to determine relations among cerebral blood flow, concomitant main vascular risk factors, and the most common signs of end-organ damage.


Regional cerebral blood flow was measured by the 133Xe inhalation method in 101 hypertensive patients without clinically apparent central nervous system involvement, including 39 mild to moderate untreated and 62 mild to severe treated patients.


Compared with age- and sex-matched normal control subjects, cerebral blood flow was significantly reduced in untreated hypertensive patients (P < .01) and to a lesser extent in treated patients (P = .047). Both regional and global cerebral blood flow reductions were observed in approximately one third of patients in both groups. Analysis of variance failed to show significant correlations between cerebral blood flow and total cholesterol concentration, mean arterial blood pressure, duration of disease, or the presence of retinopathy or left ventricular hypertrophy. In the treated group, the quality of control of hypertension significantly influenced both global cerebral blood flow (P = .007) and cerebrovascular resistance (P < .0001).


Focal or diffuse cerebral hypoperfusion is present even in neurologically asymptomatic hypertensive patients, especially when untreated; good control of blood pressure may preserve cerebral perfusion and reduce cerebrovascular resistance. Regional cerebral blood flow examination represents a relatively simple and low-cost technique to explore the perfusional condition of the brain, one of the main target organs of hypertensive disease.

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