Wavelet decomposition analysis is a clinically relevant strategy to evaluate cerebrovascular buffering of blood pressure after spinal cord injury

Saqib Saleem, Diana Vucina, Zoe Sarafis, Amanda H.X. Lee, Jordan W. Squair, Otto F. Barak, Geoff B. Coombs, Tanja Mijacika, Andrei V. Krassioukov, Philip N. Ainslie, Zeljko Dujic, Yu Chieh Tzeng, Aaron A. Phillips*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    The capacity of the cerebrovasculature to buffer changes in blood pressure (BP) is crucial to prevent stroke, the incidence of which is three- to fourfold elevated after spinal cord injury (SCI). Disruption of descending sympathetic pathways within the spinal cord due to cervical SCI may result in impaired cerebrovascular buffering. Only linear analyses of cerebrovascular buffering of BP, such as transfer function, have been used in SCI research. This approach does not account for inherent nonlinearity and nonstationarity components of cerebrovascular regulation, often depends on perturbations of BP to increase the statistical power, and does not account for the influence of arterial CO 2 tension. Here, we used a nonlinear and nonstationary analysis approach termed wavelet decomposition analysis (WDA), which recently identified novel sympathetic influences on cerebrovascular buffering of BP occurring in the ultra-low-frequency range (ULF; 0.02–0.03Hz). WDA does not require BP perturbations and can account for influences of CO 2 tension. Supine resting beat-by-beat BP (Finometer), middle cerebral artery blood velocity (transcranial Doppler), and end-tidal CO 2 tension were recorded in cervical SCI (n = 14) and uninjured (n = 16) individuals. WDA revealed that cerebral blood flow more closely follows changes in BP in the ULF range (P = 0.0021, Cohen’s d = 0.89), which may be interpreted as an impairment in cerebrovascular buffering of BP. This persisted after accounting for CO 2 . Transfer function metrics were not different in the ULF range, but phase was reduced at 0.07–0.2 Hz (P = 0.03, Cohen’s d = 0.31). Sympathetically mediated cerebrovascular buffering of BP is impaired after SCI, and WDA is a powerful strategy for evaluating cerebrovascular buffering in clinical populations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)H1108-H1114
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


    • Cerebral autoregulation
    • Cerebral blood flow
    • Cerebral pressure-flow relationships
    • Paraplegia
    • Tetraplegia
    • Wavelet decomposition analysis


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