In symptomatic patients with cerebrovascular steno-occlusive disease, impaired blood oxygenation level–dependent cerebrovascular reactivity (BOLD-CVR) and increased flow velocity of the P2 segment of the posterior cerebral artery (PCA-P2) on transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography have been introduced as emerging clinical imaging parameters to identify patients at high risk for recurrent ischemic events. Since hemodynamic physiology differs between the acute and chronic stages of ischemic stroke, the authors sought to investigate whether those parameters have merit for both the acute and chronic stages of ischemic stroke.
From a prospective database, patients who underwent BOLD-CVR and TCD examinations in the acute stroke stage (< 10 days) were matched to patients in the chronic stroke stage (> 3 months). A linear regression analysis for both groups was performed between ipsilateral PCA-P2 systolic flow velocity and BOLD-CVR of the ipsilateral (affected) hemisphere, the ipsilateral middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory, and the ipsilateral steal volume (i.e., paradoxical BOLD-CVR response). The resulting slopes and intercepts were statistically compared to evaluate differences between groups.
Forty matched patient pairs were included. Regression analysis showed no significant difference for either the intercept (p = 0.84) or the slope (p = 0.85) between PCA-P2 flow velocity and BOLD-CVR as measured for the ipsilateral (affected) hemisphere. Similarly, no significant difference was seen between PCA-P2 flow velocity and BOLD-CVR of the ipsilateral MCA territory (intercept, p = 0.72; slope, p = 0.36) or between PCA-P2 flow velocity and steal volume (intercept, p = 0.59; slope, p = 0.34).
The study results indicated that the relationship between ipsilateral PCA-P2 systolic flow velocity and BOLD-CVR remains the same during the acute and chronic stages of ischemic stroke. This provides further support that these novel hemodynamic imaging parameters may have merit to assess the risk for recurrent ischemic events for a wide ischemic stroke population. PCA-P2 systolic flow velocity, in particular, may be a highly practical screening tool, independent of ischemic stroke stage.