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Transcranial doppler ultrasound measures of neurovascular coupling are maintained following acute sport-related concussion
  1. Jonathan D Smirl1,
  2. Alexander D Wright1,2,3,4,
  3. Kevin Bouliane1,
  4. Kelsey Bryk1,
  5. Paul van Donkelaar4
  1. 1School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, Canada
  2. 2University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  3. 3Southern Medical Program, University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Kelowna, Canada.
  4. 4Department of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada


Objective To determinethe extentto which an acute sport-related concussion disrupts elevations in cerebral blood velocity (CBV) in the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) during visual tasks.

Design Prospective Cohort.

Setting Laboratory.

Participants 136 male contact-sport athletes (19.1±1.4 years) recruited, subset of 14 participants (19±1.4 years) sustained concussions.

Intervention Transcranial Doppler ultrasound was used to index CBV in the PCA during a series of visual tasks. Participants closed their eyes (20 seconds), and when prompted, opened their eyes and completed a visual task (40 seconds). Testing was completed prior to the start of their athletic season (T0), and again (if concussed) at 72-hours (T1), 2-weeks (T2), and 1-month (T3) post-injury. The raw traces from each trial were averaged to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio of the outcome measurements. Independent variable tested was time (4 points).

Outcome measures Eyes-closed CBV (cm/s), peak elevation in CBV (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 RM-ANOVA indicated there were no time effects forany of the outcome metrics: Eyes-closed CBV (p=0.473), peak CBV (p=0.541),% CBV elevation (p=0.603) and AUC (p=0.972).

Conclusions These negative findings are important, as they indicate the PCA is able to maintain nutrient delivery required for visual challenges. Thus, neurovascular coupling is maintained despite the reported impairments in indices of cerebral autoregulation in the same population.

Competing interests None.

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