Imaging the Effects of Oxygen Saturation Changes in Voluntary Apnea and Hyperventilation on Susceptibility-Weighted Imaging
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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Cerebrovascular oxygenation changes during respiratory challenges have clinically important implications for brain function, including cerebral autoregulation and the rate of brain metabolism. SWI is sensitive to venous oxygenation level by exploitation of the magnetic susceptibility of deoxygenated blood. We assessed cerebral venous blood oxygenation changes during simple voluntary breath-holding (apnea) and hyperventilation by use of SWI at 3T. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed SWI scans (3T; acquisition time of 1 minute, 28 seconds; centered on the anterior commissure and the posterior commissure) on 10 healthy male volunteers during baseline breathing as well as during simple voluntary hyperventilation and apnea challenges. The hyperventilation and apnea tasks were separated by a 5-minute resting period. SWI venograms were generated, and the signal changes on SWI before and after the respiratory stress tasks were compared by means of a paired Student t test. RESULTS: Changes in venous vasculature visibility caused by the respiratory challenges were directly visualized on the SWI venograms. The venogram segmentation results showed that voluntary apnea decreased the mean venous blood voxel number by 1.6% (P < .0001), and hyperventilation increased the mean venous blood voxel number by 2.7% (P < .0001). These results can be explained by blood CO2 changes secondary to the respiratory challenges, which can alter cerebrovascular tone and cerebral blood flow and ultimately affect venous oxygen levels. CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight the sensitivity of SWI to simple and noninvasive respiratory challenges and its potential utility in assessing cerebral hemodynamics and vasomotor responses.
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