Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Impaired cerebral autoregulation: measurement and application to stroke
  1. Li Xiong1,
  2. Xiuyun Liu2,
  3. Ty Shang3,
  4. Peter Smielewski2,
  5. Joseph Donnelly2,
  6. Zhen-ni Guo4,
  7. Yi Yang5,
  8. Thomas Leung1,
  9. Marek Czosnyka2,
  10. Rong Zhang3,
  11. Jia Liu5,
  12. Ka Sing Wong1
  1. 1 Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, China
  2. 2 Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Brain Physics Laboratory, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  3. 3 Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA
  4. 4 Department of Neurology, Neuroscience Center, The First Norman Bethune Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, China
  5. 5 Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Shenzhen, China
  1. Correspondence to Jia Liu, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology; jia.liu{at} and Dr Ka Sing Wong, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong, China; ks-wong{at}


Cerebral autoregulation (CA) is a protective mechanism that maintains cerebral blood flow at a relatively constant level despite fluctuations of cerebral perfusion pressure or arterial blood pressure. It is a universal physiological mechanism that may involve myogenic, neural control as well as metabolic regulations of cerebral vasculature in response to changes in pressure or cerebral blood flow. Traditionally, CA has been represented by a sigmoid curve with a wide plateau between about 50 mm Hg and 170 mm Hg of steady-state changes in mean arterial pressure, defined as static CA. With the advent of transcranial Doppler, measurement of cerebral blood flow in response to transient changes in arterial pressure has been used to assess dynamic CA. However, a gold standard for measuring CA is not currently available. Stroke has been the leading cause of long-term adult disability throughout the world. A better understanding of CA and its response to pathological derangements can help assess the severity of stroke, guide management decisions, assess response to interventions and provide prognostic information. The objective of this review is to provide a comprehensive insight about physiology of autoregulation, measurement methodologies and clinical applications in stroke to help build a consensus for what should be included in an internationally agreed protocol for CA testing and monitoring, and to promote its translation into clinical bedside practice for stroke management.

  • Cerebral autoregulation
  • ischaemic stroke
  • intracerebral haemorrhage
  • cerebral blood flow
  • transcranial Doppler

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors LX, XL and TS performed the literature search and wrote the manuscript. JL and KSW conceived and designed the review outlines. JL, MC and RZ helped revise the manuscript. PS and JD proposed professional advice on the methodologies of the assessment of cerebral autoregulation. ZG, YY and TL proposed professional advice on the clinical research related to cerebral autoregulation in ischaemic stroke.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF, Project No 02130836) and the General Research Fund from Research Grants Council (GRF, Reference No. 14100215) in Hong Kong. 

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.