Laser-Doppler flowmetry is a new technique for noninvasive and continuous measurement of local microcirculatory cerebral and spinal-cord blood flow. The flow estimate by this technique is based on the assessment of the Doppler shift of low-power laser light, which is scattered by moving red blood cells. Laser-Doppler flowmetry has been validated for various organs, including the central nervous system. These studies revealed a linear relationship between relative changes of the Doppler signal and blood flow over a wide range of pharmacological as well as pathological flow alterations, including cerebral ischemia. The usefulness of laser-Doppler flowmetry in experimental as well as clinical applications has received growing attention. The superiority of the technique lies in its high spatial and temporal resolution. Disadvantages are the difficulty of obtaining absolute flow values and the sensitivity to artifacts. The versatility and on-line capacity of laser-Doppler flowmetry might allow new insights into the pathophysiology of alterations of the cerebral and spinal-cord microcirculation.
Index EntriesLaser-Doppler flowmetry CBF cerebral ischemia neuroinjury laser
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