Objective To determine how a history of 3+ concussions alters elevations in cerebral blood velocity (CBV) in the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) during visual tasks.
Design Retrospective Cohort.
Participants 136 male contact-sport athletes (19.1±1.4 years, 66 football, 70 hockey) were recruited; 39 presented with 0 previous concussions, 16 with 3+ previous concussions; exclusion criteria included history of concussion within 6 months.
Intervention Transcranial Doppler ultrasound indexed PCA-CBV during a series of visual tasks. Participants closed their eyes (20-seconds) and, when prompted, opened their eyes to complete a visual task (40-seconds). Testing occurred prior to the start of their athletic season. The visual trial raw traces were averaged together to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio of outcome measurements. The independent variable tested was concussion history.
Outcomes Eyes-closed CBV (cm/s), peak elevation in CBV after eyes-open (cm/s), relative change in CBV (%), and total activation during the first 30 seconds of the task (indexed via area under the curve-AUC)
Main results Independent samples T-Tests indicated there were no effects of concussion history on any outcome: Eyes-closed CBV (p=0.950), peak CBV (p=0.903), % CBV elevation (p=0.593), and AUC (p=0.718).
Conclusions A history of multiple concussions does not alter the cerebrovasculature’s ability to maintain nutrient delivery required for visual challenges in cortical areas supplied by the PCA. This is an important finding; despite the long-term neurocognitive deficits associated with a history of concussions, the transcranial Doppler assessment of neurovascular coupling appears intact for this population of younger adult contact-sport athletes.
Competing interests None.
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