Cerebral ischemia studied with positron emission tomography and microdialysis

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Stroke is the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the industrialized world. Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), the least common form of stroke, is one of the most demanding diseases treated in neurointensive care units. Cerebral ischemia may develop rapidly, and has a major influence on outcome.To be able to save parts of the brain that are at risk for ischemic brain damage, there is a need for reliable monitoring techniques. Understanding the pathophysiology of cerebral ischemia is a prerequisite both for the correct treatment of these diseases and for the development of new monitoring techniques and treatment modalities. The main aim of this thesis was to gain insight into the mechanisms of cerebral ischemia by studying early hemodynamic and metabolic changes with positron emission tomography and neurochemical changes with microdialysis. A secondary aim was to evaluate the potential of these techniques for detecting ischemia and predicting the degree of reversibility of ischemic changes.Early changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and metabolism (CMRO2) were studied with repeated positron emission tomography in an experimental model (MCAO) of transient focal ischemia, and in SAH patients. CMRO2 was superior to CBF in discriminating between tissue with irreversible damage and tissue with the potential for survival in the experimental model. A metabolic threshold of ischemia was found. Neurochemical changes in the ischemic regions were studied simultaneously with microdialysis. Extracellular concentrations of glucose, lactate, hypoxanthine, glutamate and glycerol were measured, and the lactate/pyruvate (LP) and lactate/glucose ratios were calculated. Changes in all the microdialysis parameters were related to the degree of ischemia (severe ischemia or penumbra). Especially the LP ratio and glycerol were found to be robust and specific markers of ischemia. In the patients, hemodynamic and metabolic changes were common, but diverse in the acute phase of SAH, and it was suggested that these changes may contribute to an increased vulnerability for secondary events and the development of secondary ischemic brain damage.