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Hypertension. 2018 Jul;72(1):139-150. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.10900. Epub 2018 May 29.

Dynamic Regulation of Cerebral Blood Flow in Patients With Alzheimer Disease.

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From the Department of Geriatric Medicine, Radboud Alzheimer Centre (R.A.A.d.H., D.L.K.d.J., M.L.S., G.J.v.S., M.H.O.-S., M.G.M.O.R., J.A.H.R.C.).
Donders Institute for Brain Cognition and Behaviour, Nijmegen, The Netherlands (R.A.A.d.H., D.L.K.d.J., M.L.S., G.J.v.S., M.H.O.-S., M.G.M.O.R., J.A.H.R.C.).
Department of Physiology (M.H.O.-S., M.T.H.), Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Mercer's Institute for Research on Ageing, St. James's Hospital and Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (B.A.L.).
From the Department of Geriatric Medicine, Radboud Alzheimer Centre (R.A.A.d.H., D.L.K.d.J., M.L.S., G.J.v.S., M.H.O.-S., M.G.M.O.R., J.A.H.R.C.)


Cerebral autoregulation and baroreflex sensitivity are key mechanisms that maintain cerebral blood flow. This study assessed whether these control mechanisms are affected in patients with dementia and mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer disease, as this would increase the risks of antihypertensive treatment. We studied 53 patients with dementia (73.1 years [95% confidence interval (CI), 71.4-74.8]), 37 patients with mild cognitive impairment (69.2 years [95% CI, 66.4-72.0]), and 47 controls (69.4 years [95% CI, 68.3-70.5]). Beat-to-beat blood pressure (photoplethysmography), heart rate, and cerebral blood flow velocity (transcranial Doppler) were measured during 5-minute rest (sitting) and 5 minutes of orthostatic challenges, using repeated sit-to-stand maneuvers. Cerebral autoregulation was assessed using transfer function analysis and the autoregulatory index. Baroreflex sensitivity was estimated with transfer function analysis and by calculating the heart rate response to blood pressure changes during the orthostatic challenges. Dementia patients had the lowest cerebral blood flow velocity (P=0.004). During rest, neither transfer function analysis nor the autoregulatory index indicated impairments in cerebral autoregulation. During the orthostatic challenges, higher autoregulatory index (P=0.011) and lower transfer function gain (P=0.017), indicating better cerebral autoregulation, were found in dementia (4.56 arb. unit [95% CI, 4.14-4.97]; 0.59 cm/s per mm Hg [95% CI, 0.51-0.66]) and mild cognitive impairment (4.59 arb. unit [95% CI, 4.04-5.13]; 0.51 cm/s per mm Hg [95% CI, 0.44-0.59]) compared with controls (3.71 arb. unit [95% CI, 3.35-4.07]; 0.67 cm/s per mm Hg [95% CI, 0.59-0.74]). Baroreflex sensitivity measures did not differ between groups. In conclusion, the key mechanisms to control blood pressure and cerebral blood flow are not reduced in 2 stages of Alzheimer disease compared with controls, both in rest and during orthostatic changes that reflect daily life challenges.


baroreflex; blood pressure; cerebrovascular circulation; photoplethysmography; transcranial doppler ultrasonography

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