Cerebrovascular reactivity assessment with O2-CO2 exchange ratio under brief breath hold challenge

Suk Tak Chan, Karleyton C. Evans, Tian Yue Song, Juliette Selb, Andre Van Der Kouwe, Bruce R. Rosen, Andrew Ahn, Kenneth K. Kwong, Yongping Zheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background Hypercapnia during breath holding is believed to be the dominant driver behind the modulation of cerebral blood flow (CBF). However, increasing evidence show that mild hypoxia and mild hypercapnia in breath hold (BH) could work synergistically to enhance CBF response. We hypothesized that breath-by-breath O2-CO2 exchange ratio (bER), defined as the ratio of the change in partial pressure of oxygen ((ΔPO2) to that of carbon dioxide (ΔPCO2) between end inspiration and end expiration, would be able to better correlate with the global and regional cerebral hemodynamic responses (CHR) to BH challenge. We aimed to investigate whether bER is a more useful index than end-tidal PCO2 to characterize cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) under BH challenge. Methods We used transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD) to evaluate CHR under BH challenge by measuring cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFv) in the middle cerebral arteries. Regional changes in CHR to BH and exogenous CO2 challenges were mapped with blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal changes using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We correlated respiratory gas exchange (RGE) metrics (bER, ΔPO2, ΔPCO2, endtidal PCO2 and PO2, and time of breaths) with CHR (CBFv and BOLD) to BH challenge. Temporal features and frequency characteristics of RGE metrics and their coherence with CHR were examined. Results CHR to brief BH epochs and free breathing were coupled with both ΔPO2 and ΔPCO2. We found that bER was superior to either ΔPO2 or ΔPCO2 alone in coupling with the changes of CBFv and BOLD signals under breath hold challenge. The regional CVR results derived by regressing BOLD signal changes on bER under BH challenge resembled those derived by regressing BOLD signal changes on end-tidal PCO2 under exogenous CO2 challenge. Conclusion Our findings provide a novel insight on the potential of using bER to better quantify CVR changes under BH challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0225915
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this