The mechanisms of syringomyelia have long puzzled neurosurgeons and researchers alike due to difficulties in identifying the driving forces behind fluid flow into a syrinx, apparently against a pressure gradient between the spinal cord and the subarachnoid space (SAS). Recently, the synchronization between CSF flow and the cardiac cycle has been postulated to affect fluid flow in the spinal cord. This study aims to determine the effect of changes in the timing of SAS pressure on perivascular flow into the spinal cord.
This study uses a computational fluid dynamics model to investigate whether the relative timing of a spinal artery cardiovascular pulse wave and fluid pressure in the spinal SAS can influence CSF flow in the perivascular spaces.
The results show that the mass flow rate of CSF through a model periarterial space is strongly influenced by the relative timing of the arterial pulse wave and the SAS pressure.
These findings suggest that factors that might alter the timing of the pulse wave or the fluid flow in the SAS could potentially affect fluid flow into a syrinx.
Abbreviations used in this paper: CM = Chiari malformation; PVS = perivascular space; SAS = subarachnoid space.
Address correspondence to: Lynne E. Bilston, Ph.D., Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, University of New South Wales, Corner Barker and Easy Streets, Randwick, New South Wales 2031, Australia. email:
Please include this information when citing this paper: published online June 12, 2009; DOI: 10.3171/2009.5.JNS08945.
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