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Bedside Cerebral Blood Flow Quantification in Neonates

      Abstract

      Measurement of blood flow to the brain in neonates would be a very valuable addition to the medical diagnostic armamentarium. Such conditions such as assessment of closure of a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) would greatly benefit from such an evaluation. However, measurement of cerebral blood flow in a clinical setting has proven very difficult and, as such, is rarely employed. Present techniques are often cumbersome, difficult to perform and potentially dangerous for very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. We have been developing an ultrasound blood volume flow technique that could be routinely used to assess blood flow to the brain in neonates. By scanning through the anterior fontanelles of 10 normal, full-term newborn infants, we were able to estimate total brain blood flows that closely match those published in the literature using much more invasive and technically demanding methods. Our method is safe, easy to do, does not require contrast agents and can be performed in the baby's incubator. The method has the potential for monitoring and assessing blood flows to the brain and could be used to routinely assess cerebral blood flow in many different clinical conditions.

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