Original Article

Neurocritical Care

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 213-218

First online:

Vasospasm Shortens Cerebral Arterial Time Constant

  • Magdalena KasprowiczAffiliated withAcademic Neurosurgery Unit, Addenbrooke’s HospitalInstitute of Biomedical Engineering and Instrumentation, Wroclaw University of Technology Email author 
  • , Marek CzosnykaAffiliated withAcademic Neurosurgery Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital
  • , Martin SoehleAffiliated withDepartment of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Bonn
  • , Peter SmielewskiAffiliated withAcademic Neurosurgery Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital
  • , Peter J. KirkpatrickAffiliated withAcademic Neurosurgery Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital
  • , John D. PickardAffiliated withAcademic Neurosurgery Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital
  • , Karol P. BudohoskiAffiliated withAcademic Neurosurgery Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital

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Cerebrovascular time constant (τ) estimates how fast cerebral blood arrives in cerebral arterial bed after each heart stroke. We investigate the pattern of changes in τ following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), with specific emphasis on the temporal profile of changes in relation to the development of cerebral vasospasm.


Simultaneous recordings of arterial blood pressure (ABP) and transcranial Doppler (TCD) blood flow velocity (CBFV) in MCA were performed daily in patients after SAH. In 22 patients (10 males and 12 females; median age: 48 years, range: 34–84 years) recordings done before spasm were compared to those done during spasm. Vasospasm was confirmed with TCD (mean CBFV in MCA > 120 cm/s and Lindegaard ratio > 3). τ was estimated as a product of compliance of cerebral arteries (C a) and cerebrovascular resistance (CVR). C a and CVR were estimated using mathematical transformations of ABP and CBFV waveforms.


Vasospasm caused shortening of τ on both the spastic (before: 0.20 ± 0.05 s vs. spasm: 0.14 ± 0.04 s, P < 0.0008) and contralateral side (before: 0.22 ± 0.05 s vs. spasm: 0.16 ± 0.04 s, P < 0.0008). Before TCD signs of vasospasm were detected, τ demonstrated asymmetry with lower values on ipsilateral side to aneurysm, in comparison to contralateral side (P < 0.009),


Cerebral vasospasm causes shortening of τ. Shorter τ at the side of aneurysm can be observed before formal TCD signs of vasospasm are observed, therefore, potentially reducing time to escalation of treatment.


Cerebral blood flow Trascranial Doppler Vasospasm