, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 723-728
Date: 14 Nov 2012

Compromised cerebrovascular modulation in chronic anxiety: evidence from cerebral blood flow velocity measured by transcranial Doppler sonography

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Cerebral autoregulation (CA) is the mechanism by which constant cerebral blood flow is maintained despite changes in cerebral perfusion pressure. CA can be evaluated by dynamic monitoring of cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) with transcranial Doppler sonography (TCD). The present study aimed to explore CA in chronic anxiety.


Subjects with Hamilton anxiety scale scores ≥14 were enrolled and the dynamic changes of CBFV in response to an orthostatic challenge were investigated using TCD.


In both the anxious and the healthy subjects, the mean CBFV was significantly lower in the upright position than when supine. However, the CBFV changes from supine to upright differed between the anxious and the healthy groups. Anxious subjects showed more pronounced decreases in CBFV with abrupt standing.


Our results indicate that cerebrovascular modulation is compromised in chronic anxiety; anxious subjects have some insufficiency in maintaining cerebral perfusion after postural change. Given the fact that anxiety and impaired CA are associated with cardiovascular disease, early ascertainment of compromised cerebrovascular modulation using TCD might suggest interventional therapies in the anxious population, and improve the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

These authors contributed equally to this work.