Changes in cerebral blood volume and cytochrome aa3 during hypertensive peaks in preterm infants.
Relative changes in cerebral blood volume and in the oxidation/reduction state of cytochrome aa3, the terminal member of the electron transport chain in oxidative metabolism, can be simultaneously observed with near infrared spectroscopy. Using this technique, we studied movement-associated blood pressure elevations in three nonparalyzed very low birth weight infants receiving mechanical ventilation. We defined hypertensive peaks as increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressures greater than or equal to 30% over baseline and lasting at least 2 seconds. Ninety percent of monitored time, an increase in tissue blood volume (tBV) immediately followed each blood pressure elevation, with deoxygenated hemoglobin providing the sole or predominant increase in tBV. A simultaneous shift of cytochrome aa3 to a more reduced state usually accompanied the rise in tBV, probably indicating a transient imbalance between oxygen delivery and cellular oxygen utilization and a failure of mechanisms that normally regulate cerebral oxygenation. The consistent association of hypertensive peaks with body movement, coughing, and breath holding, and the predominant increase in deoxygenated hemoglobin suggest that increased intrathoracic pressure transiently impedes cerebral venous return. The repeated fluctuations in intracerebral blood volume and associated shifts to greater cytochrome aa3 reduction with hypertensive peaks provide a possible explanation for the association of fluctuating blood pressure patterns and increased risk for intraventricular hemorrhage.
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