Objective: Loss of cerebral autoregulation (CA) plays a key role in secondary neurologic injury. However, the regional distribution of CA impairment after acute cerebral injury remains unclear because, in clinical practice, CA is only assessed within a limited compartment. Here, we performed large-scale regional mapping of cortical perfusion and CA in patients undergoing decompressive surgery for malignant hemispheric stroke.
Methods: In 24 patients, autoregulation over the affected hemisphere was calculated based on direct, 15 to 20-minute cortical perfusion measurement with intraoperative laser speckle imaging and mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) recording. Cortical perfusion was normalized against noninfarcted tissue and 6 perfusion categories from 0% to >100% were defined. The interaction between cortical perfusion and MAP was estimated using a linear random slope model and Pearson correlation.
Results: Cortical perfusion and CA impairment were heterogeneously distributed across the entire hemisphere. The degree of CA impairment was significantly greater in areas with critical hypoperfusion (40-60%: 0.42% per mmHg and 60-80%: 0.46% per mmHg) than in noninfarcted (> 100%: 0.22% per mmHg) or infarcted (0-20%: 0.29% per mmHg) areas (*p < 0.001). Pearson correlation confirmed greater CA impairment at critically reduced perfusion (20-40%: r = 0.67; 40-60%: r = 0.68; and 60-80%: r = 0.68) compared to perfusion > 100% (r = 0.36; *p < 0.05). Tissue integrity had no impact on the degree of CA impairment.
Interpretation: In hemispheric stroke, CA is impaired across the entire hemisphere to a variable extent. Autoregulation impairment was greatest in hypoperfused and potentially viable tissue, suggesting that precise localization of such regions is essential for effective tailoring of perfusion pressure-based treatment strategies. ANN NEUROL 2020