Effect sizes of BOLD CVR, resting-state signal fluctuations and time delay measures for the assessment of hemodynamic impairment in carotid occlusion patients

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Abstract

Background and purpose:

The BOLD signal amplitude as a response to a hypercapnia stimulus is commonly used to assess cerebrovascular reserve. Despite recent advances, the implementation remains cumbersome and alternative ways to assess hemodynamic impairment are desirable. Resting-state BOLD signal fluctuations (rsBOLD) have been proposed however data on its sensitivity and dependence on baseline venous cerebral blood volume (vCBV) is limited. The primary aim of this study was to compare the effect sizes of resting-state and hypercapnia induced BOLD signal changes in the detection of hemodynamic impairment. The second aim of the study was to assess the dependence of BOLD signal variability on vCBV.

Materials and methods:

Fifteen patients with internal carotid artery occlusive disease and 15 matched healthy controls were included in this study. The BOLD signal was derived from a dual-echo gradient-echo echo-planar sequence during hypercapnia (HC) and hyperoxia (HO) gas modulations. BOLD (fractional) amplitude of low frequency fluctuations ((f)ALFF) was compared to HC-BOLD, BOLD response delays derived from time delay analysis and ΔBOLD in response to progressively increasing HC. Effect sizes (i.e. the standard mean difference between patients and controls) were calculated. HO-BOLD was used to estimate vCBV, and its contribution to the variability in rsBOLD signal was evaluated.

Results:

The effect sizes of ALFF and fALFF (0.61 and 0.72) were lower than the effect sizes related to hypercapnia-based hemodynamic assessment analysis; 1.62, 1.56 and 0.90 for HC-BOLD, BOLD response delays and ΔBOLD in response to progressively increasing HC. A moderate relation was found between (f)ALFF and HC-BOLD in controls (R2 of 0.61 and 0.42), but this relation decreased in patients (R2 of 0.33 and 0.15). (f)ALFF did not differ between patients and controls whereas HC-BOLD did (p < 0.005). The ΔBOLD response to progressively increasing HC was significantly different in between patients and controls for ΔEtCO2 values ≥ 2 mmHg (at +2 mmHg F(1, 18) = 5.85, p = 0.026). Up to 31% and 53% of the variance in the ALFF and HC-BOLD spatial distribution could be explained by HO-BOLD.

Conclusion:

ALFF and fALFF demonstrated a moderate effect size to detect hemodynamic impairment whereas the effect size was large for methods employing a hypercapnia-based vascular stress stimulus. Based on our analysis of BOLD signal change as a response to a progressively increasing hypercapnia stimulus we can argue that a hypercapnia stimulus of at least 2 mmHg above baseline EtCO2 is necessary to evaluate hemodynamic impairment. We also demonstrated that a substantial amount of information imbedded in the rsBOLD and HC-BOLD was explained by HO-BOLD. HO-BOLD can serve as a proxy for vCBV and this thus indicates that one should be careful when adopting these techniques in disease cases with compromised CBV.

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