Monitoring of cerebral blood flow (CBF) and autoregulation are essential components of neurocritical care, but continuous noninvasive methods for CBF monitoring are lacking. Diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) is a noninvasive diffuse optical modality that measures a CBF index (CBFi) in the cortex microvasculature by monitoring the rapid fluctuations of near-infrared light diffusing through moving red blood cells. We tested the feasibility of monitoring CBFi with DCS in at-risk patients in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit. DCS data were acquired continuously for up to 20 h in six patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, as permitted by clinical care. Mean arterial blood pressure was recorded synchronously, allowing us to derive autoregulation curves and to compute an autoregulation index. The autoregulation curves suggest disrupted cerebral autoregulation in most patients, with the severity of disruption and the limits of preserved autoregulation varying between subjects. Our findings suggest the potential of the DCS modality for noninvasive, long-term monitoring of cerebral perfusion, and autoregulation.
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