Increases in cerebrovascular impedance in older adults

Yong Sheng Zhu, Benjamin Y. Tseng, Shigeki Shibata, Benjamin D. Levine, Rong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This study explored a novel method for measuring cerebrovascular impedance to quantify the relationship between pulsatile changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and arterial pressure. Arterial pressure in the internal or common carotid artery (applanation tonometry), CBF velocity in the middle cerebral artery (transcranial Doppler), and end-tidal CO 2 (capnography) were measured in six young (28 ± 4 yr) and nine elderly subjects (70 ± 6 yr). Transfer function method was used to estimate cerebrovascular impedance. Under supine resting conditions, CBF velocity was reduced in the elderly despite the fact that they had higher arterial pressure than young subjects. As expected, cerebrovascular resistance index was increased in the elderly. In both young and elderly subjects, impedance modulus was reduced gradually in the frequency range of 0.78-8 Hz. Phase was negative in the range of 0.78-4.3 Hz and fluctuated at high frequencies. Compared with the young, impedance modulus increased by 38% in the elderly in the range of 0.78-2 Hz and by 39% in the range of 2-4 Hz (P < 0.05). Moreover, increases in impedance were correlated with reductions in CBF velocity. Collectively, these findings demonstrate the feasibility of assessing cerebrovascular impedance using the noninvasive method developed in this study. The estimated impedance modulus and phase are similar to those observed in the systemic circulation and other vascular beds. Moreover, increases in impedance in the elderly suggest that arterial stiffening, besides changes in cerebrovascular resistance, contributes to reduction in CBF with age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-381
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Aging
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Fourier analysis
  • Transcranial Doppler
  • Vascular impedance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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