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Cerebral autoregulation is impaired in cardioinhibitory carotid sinus syndrome
  1. S W Parry1,
  2. N Steen2,
  3. M Baptist1,
  4. K A Fiaschi3,
  5. O Parry3,
  6. R A Kenny4
  1. 1Cardiovascular Investigation Unit, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2Centre for Health Services Research, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3Vascular Ultrasound, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  4. 4Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Steve W Parry
    Cardiovascular Investigation Unit, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK; steve.parry{at}


Objectives: To compare changes in cerebral autoregulation in response to controlled, lower body negative pressure-induced hypotension in patients with carotid sinus syndrome (CSS) and case controls.

Design: Prospective case controlled study.

Setting: Secondary and tertiary referral falls and syncope service.

Patients: 17 consecutive patients with CSS and 11 asymptomatic controls.

Interventions: Hypotension insufficient to cause syncope induced by lower body negative pressure (minimum 30 mm Hg fall in systolic blood pressure (SBP)) during concomitant transcranial Doppler ultrasonography.

Main outcome measures: Cerebral autoregulation (systolic, diastolic and mean middle cerebral arterial blood flow velocities and cerebrovascular resistance) with continuous end-tidal carbon dioxide and haemodynamic monitoring.

Results: Cerebral autoregulatory indices differed significantly between patients with CSS and controls. Systolic, diastolic and middle cerebral arterial blood flow velocities were, respectively, 9.2 m/s (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.9 to 15.4 m/s), 4.7 m/s (95% CI 1.5 to 7.9 m/s) and 6.9 m/s (95% CI 2.5 to 11.4 m/s) slower in patients with CSS. Cerebrovascular resistance was significantly greater in patients with CSS than in controls at SBP nadir and suction release; differences were 0.9 mm Hg/m/s (95% CI 0.0 to 1.7 mm Hg/m/s) and 0.8 mm Hg/m/s (95% CI 0.0 to 1.7 mm Hg/m/s), respectively. End-tidal carbon dioxide and systemic haemodynamic variables were similar for patients and controls at baseline and during lower body negative pressure.

Conclusions: Cerebral autoregulation is altered in patients with CSS. This difference may have aetiological implications in the differential presentation with falls and drop attacks rather than syncope.

  • CSS, carotid sinus syndrome
  • CVR, cerebrovascular resistance
  • DBFV, diastolic blood flow velocity
  • Etco2, end-tidal carbon dioxide concentration
  • LBNP, lower body negative pressure
  • MAP, mean arterial blood pressure
  • MBFV, mean cerebral blood flow velocity
  • SBFV, systolic blood flow velocity
  • SBP, systolic blood pressure
  • TCD, transcranial Doppler ultrasonography
  • ageing
  • carotid arteries
  • cerebral autoregulation
  • cerebrovascular circulation
  • syncope

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  • Published Online First 31 January 2006

  • Sources of funding: Dr Parry was supported by the British Heart Foundation.

  • Conflicts of interest: None declared.

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