Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Failure of cerebral autoregulation as a cause of brain dysfunction in the elderly.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 28 April 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:1117
  1. L Wollner,
  2. S T McCarthy,
  3. N D Soper,
  4. D J Macy


    Cerebral blood flow in relation to change in arterial pressure was measured in 11 elderly patients with postural hypotension. Seven patients with symptoms showed bilateral or unilateral failure of cerebral autoregulation, while the four asymptomatic patients did not. Variations in cerebral autoregulation would explain why some elderly people with minor falls of systemic arterial pressure develop clinical signs of cerebral ischaemia whereas others with greater falls in blood pressure remain asymptomatic. Elderly patients with impaired autoregulation may be at risk of brain damage from minor falls in blood pressure.