Heart transplant recipients are at an increased risk for cerebral hemorrhage and ischemic stroke; yet, the exact mechanism for this derangement remains unclear. We hypothesized that alterations in cerebrovascular regulation is principally involved. To test this hypothesis, we studied cerebral pressure-flow dynamics in 8 clinically stable male heart transplant recipients (62±8 years of age and 9±7 years post transplant, mean±SD), 9 male age-matched controls (63±8 years), and 10 male donor controls (27±5 years). To increase blood pressure variability and improve assessment of the pressure-flow dynamics, subjects performed squat-stand maneuvers at 0.05 and 0.10 Hz. Beat-to-beat blood pressure, middle cerebral artery velocity, and end-tidal carbon dioxide were continuously measured during 5 minutes of seated rest and throughout the squat-stand maneuvers. Cardiac baroreceptor sensitivity gain and cerebral pressure-flow responses were assessed with linear transfer function analysis. Heart transplant recipients had reductions in R-R interval power and baroreceptor sensitivity low frequency gain (P<0.01) compared with both control groups; however, these changes were unrelated to transfer function metrics. Thus, in contrast to our hypothesis, the increased risk of cerebrovascular complication after heart transplantation does not seem to be related to alterations in cerebral pressure-flow dynamics. Future research is, therefore, warranted.
- Blood pressure
- Cardiac transplantation
- Cerebrovascular circulation
- Transcranial doppler ultrasonography