Impact of Cerebral Autoregulation Monitoring in Cerebrovascular Disease: A Systematic Review

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Cerebral autoregulation (CA) prevents brain injury by maintaining a relatively constant cerebral blood flow despite fluctuations in cerebral perfusion pressure. This process is disrupted consequent to various neurologic pathologic processes, which may result in worsening neurologic outcomes. Herein, we aim to highlight evidence describing CA changes and the impact of CA monitoring in patients with cerebrovascular disease, including ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). The study was preformed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. English language publications were identified through a systematic literature conducted in Ovid Medline, PubMed, and Embase databases. The search spanned the dates of each database’s inception through January 2021. We selected case–control studies, cohort observational studies, and randomized clinical trials for adult patients (≥ 18 years) who were monitored with continuous metrics using transcranial Doppler, near-infrared spectroscopy, and intracranial pressure monitors. Of 2799 records screened, 48 studies met the inclusion criteria. There were 23 studies on ischemic stroke, 18 studies on aSAH, 5 studies on ICH, and 2 studies on systemic hypertension. CA impairment was reported after ischemic stroke but generally improved after tissue plasminogen activator administration and successful mechanical thrombectomy. Persistent impairment in CA was associated with hemorrhagic transformation, malignant cerebral edema, and need for hemicraniectomy. Studies that investigated large ICHs described bilateral CA impairment up to 12 days from the ictus, especially in the presence of small vessel disease. In aSAH, impairment of CA was associated with angiographic vasospasm, delayed cerebral ischemia, and poor functional outcomes at 6 months. This systematic review highlights the available evidence for CA disruption during cerebrovascular diseases and its possible association with long-term neurological outcome. CA may be disrupted even before acute stroke in patients with untreated chronic hypertension. Monitoring CA may help in establishing individualized management targets in patients with cerebrovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1070
Number of pages18
JournalNeurocritical care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Cerebral autoregulation
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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