Temporal variability of parameters which describe dynamic cerebral autoregulation (CA), usually quantified by the short-term relationship between arterial blood pressure (BP) and cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV), could result from continuous adjustments in physiological regulatory mechanisms or could be the result of artefacts in methods of measurement, such as the use of non-invasive measurements of BP in the finger. In 27 subjects (61 ± 11 years old) undergoing coronary artery angioplasty, BP was continuously recorded at rest with the Finapres device and in the ascending aorta (Millar catheter, BPAO), together with bilateral transcranial Doppler ultrasound in the middle cerebral artery, surface ECG and transcutaneous CO2. Dynamic CA was expressed by the autoregulation index (ARI), ranging from 0 (absence of CA) to 9 (best CA). Time-varying, continuous estimates of ARI (ARI(t)) were obtained with an autoregressive moving-average (ARMA) model applied to a 60 s sliding data window. No significant differences were observed in the accuracy and precision of ARI(t) between estimates derived from the Finapres and BPAO. Highly significant correlations were obtained between ARI(t) estimates from the right and left middle cerebral artery (MCA) (Finapres r = 0.60 ± 0.20; BPAO r = 0.56 ± 0.22) and also between the ARI(t) estimates from the Finapres and BPAO (right MCA r = 0.70 ± 0.22; left MCA r = 0.74 ± 0.22). Surrogate data showed that ARI(t) was highly sensitive to the presence of noise in the CBFV signal, with both the bias and dispersion of estimates increasing for lower values of ARI(t). This effect could explain the sudden drops of ARI(t) to zero as reported previously. Simulated sudden changes in ARI(t) can be detected by the Finapres, but the bias and variability of estimates also increase for lower values of ARI. In summary, the Finapres does not distort time-varying estimates of dynamic CA obtained with a sliding window combined with an ARMA model, but further research is needed to confirm these findings in healthy subjects and to assess the influence of different physiological manoeuvre
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