Cerebral blood flow changes during palpation of external airway structures in healthy volunteers

Paul S. Basel, Michael D. April, Allyson A. Arana, Jessie Renee D. Fernandez, Steven G. Schauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Previous studies demonstrate increased intracranial pressure (ICP) during direct laryngoscopy in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Worse outcomes in TBI have been associated with increased ICP. It remains unclear if the same effect occurs during cricothyrotomy. We evaluated changes in cerebral blood flow and hemodynamic changes that occurred during preparation for cricothyrotomy in healthy volunteers. Methods An emergency medicine trainee performed routine anatomical procedural palpation with simultaneous transcranial doppler (TCD) measurements of cerebral blood flow velocities (CBFV) from bilateral middle cerebral arteries (MCAs). Mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) were recorded throughout event. Our primary outcome was changes in pulsatility index (PI) and CBFV by TCD during palpation. TCD measurements were used as a surrogate for ICP. Results We enrolled 20 healthy volunteers for this study. No significant differences were found in pulsatility index [Right MCA -0.02 (95% confidence interval, -0.09 to 0.06), left MCA -0.02 (95% confidence interval, -0.011 to 0.07)] or mean CBFV [right MCA -0.70 mm/s (95% confidence interval, -10.15 to 8.75) left MCA -1.20 mm/s (95% confidence interval, -10.68 to 8.28)] during palpation. No significant change in HR was found [-1.1 bpm ((95% confidence interval, -2.4 to 0.1)]. A change in MAP was observed [1.3 mmHg (95% confidence interval, -0.1 to 2.4)]. Conclusions In healthy individuals, no clinically significant change in cerebral blood flow velocities, ICP, or change heart rate was observed during palpation for cricothyrotomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0236256
JournalPloS one
Issue number7 July
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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