Early human development vol:34 issue:3 pages:199-208
The alterations in cerebral hemodynamics during and following 39 episodes with bradycardia of different severity have been studied by analysis of Doppler flow velocity waveforms amongst 16 stable preterm infants (range of conceptional age at the time of study 33-39 weeks; weight 1730-2820 g). Each episode with bradycardia has been classified as mild on seven occasions (heart rate between 100-120 beats/min), moderate on 15 occasions (80-100), or severe on 17 occasions (heart rate below 80) Depending on the severity of the bradycardia, the time-averaged mean flow velocity (V) could decrease by 80% below the preexistent baseline value and the end-diastolic velocity (D) dropped towards the zero line, whereas peak systolic velocities did not change The magnitude of the percentage decrease of V correlated positively with the severity of bradycardia, indicating a progressive decline of cerebral blood flow (CBF). Following bradycardia, V could increase up to 75% above the preexistent baseline value. Simultaneously, an increase of mean arterial blood pressure and D could be documented. Peak systolic velocities remained unaltered. The magnitude of the percentage increase of V following bradycardia depended both on the severity of bradycardia as well as on the drop in transcutaneous oxygen during the preceding bradycardia. Interpretation of these findings suggested that the transient cerebral hyperperfusion following bradycardia compensates for the hypoxic-ischemic episode, sustained during the preceding epoch of apnea and bradycardia.