Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Medical Biophysics


Keith St. Lawrence


A dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) near-infrared (NIR) method to measure cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the neurocritical care unit (NCU) is described. A primary concern in managing patients with acquired brain injury (ABI) is onset of delayed ischemic injury (DII) caused by complications during the days to weeks following the initial insult, resulting in reduced CBF and impaired oxygen delivery.

The development of a safe, portable, and quantitative DCE-NIR method for measuring CBF in NCU patients is addressed by focusing on four main areas: designing a clinically compatible instrument, developing an appropriate analytical framework, creating a relevant ABI animal model, and validating the method against CT perfusion. In Chapter 2, depth-resolved continuous-wave NIR recovered values of CBF in a juvenile pig show strong correlation with CT perfusion CBF during mild ischemia and hyperemia (r=0.84, p<0.001). In particular, subject-specific light propagation modeling reduces the variability caused by extracerebral layer contamination. In Chapter 3, time-resolved (TR) NIR improves the signal sensitivity to brain tissue, and a relative CBF index is be both sensitive and specific to flow changes in the brain. In particular, when compared with the change in CBF measured with CT perfusion during hypocapnia, the deconvolution-based index has an error of 0.8%, compared to 21.8% with the time-to-peak method. To enable measurement of absolute CBF, a method for characterizing the AIF is described in Chapter 4, and the theoretical basis for an advanced analytical framework—the kinetic deconvolution optical reconstruction (KDOR)—is provided in Chapter 5. Finally, a multichannel TR-NIR system is combined with KDOR to quantify CBF in an adult pig model of ischemia (Chapter 6). In this final study, measurements of CBF obtained with the DCE-NIR technique show strong agreement with CT perfusion measurements of CBF in mild and moderate ischemia (r=0.86, p<0.001).

The principle conclusion of this thesis is that the DCE-NIR method, combining multidistance TR instrumentation with the KDOR analytical framework, can recover CBF values that are in strong agreement with CT perfusion values of CBF. Ultimately, bedside CBF measurements could improve clinical management of ABI by detecting delayed ischemia before permanent brain damage occurs.