Behavioural Neurology

Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 170756, 9 pages

http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/170756

## The Oscillating Component of the Internal Jugular Vein Flow: The Overlooked Element of Cerebral Circulation

^{1}Department of Physics and Earth Sciences, University of Ferrara, Via Saragat 1, Ferrara, Italy^{2}Vascular Diseases Center, University of Ferrara, Via Aldo Moro 8, Cona, 44124 Ferrara, Italy^{3}Laboratory of Applied Mathematics, DICAM, University of Trento, Via Mesiano 77, 38100 Trento, Italy

Received 16 October 2015; Accepted 22 November 2015

Academic Editor: John H. Zhang

Copyright © 2015 Francesco Sisini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

#### Abstract

The jugular venous pulse (JVP) provides valuable information about cardiac haemodynamics and filling pressures and is an indirect estimate of the central venous pressure (CVP). Recently it has been proven that JVP can be obtained by measuring the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the IJV on each sonogram of an ultrasound B-mode sonogram sequence. It has also been proven that during its pulsation the IJV is distended and hence that the pressure gradient drives the IJV haemodynamics. If this is true, then it will imply the following: (i) the blood velocity in the IJV is a periodic function of the time with period equal to the cardiac period and (ii) the instantaneous blood velocity is given by a time function that can be derived from a flow-dynamics theory that uses the instantaneous pressure gradient as a parameter. The aim of the present study is to confirm the hypothesis that JVP regulates the IJV blood flow and that pressure waves are transmitted from the heart toward the brain through the IJV wall.

#### 1. Background

The evaluation of the jugular venous pulse (JVP), defined as the movement of expansion of the jugular vein due to changes in pressure in the right atrium, provides valuable information about cardiac haemodynamics and filling pressures [1], characteristic wave patterns pathognomic of cardiac diseases [2], and an indirect estimate of the central venous pressure (CVP). The JVP evaluation can be useful in the diagnosis and/or prognosis of many heart diseases [3]. Such a pulse consists of three positive waves (, , and ) and two descents, defined, respectively, as and . Wave corresponds to the atrial contraction and is synchronized with the wave of the electrocardiogram (ECG). Descent corresponds to the lowering of the atrioventricular septum, interrupted by a small positive wave in relation to the closure of the tricuspid valve; the third wave corresponds to the cardiac systole and is followed by the descent which corresponds to the opening of the tricuspid valve.

In a recent paper [4] we proved that JVP can be obtained by a simple ultrasound (US) B-mode investigation that consists in measuring the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the IJV on each sonogram of video clip acquired in the transversal plane. In that paper, we acquired the time-dependent CSA datasets of three healthy subjects and then calculated the autocorrelation function of the datasets to show that they were periodic and finally we showed that their wave form presented the same , , and waves as the JVP. Our study gave a quantification of the IJV CSA variation during the cardiac cycle. We also have seen that the IJV perimeter, measured on each sonogram of the video clip, was correlating with the IJV CSA (). On this point, we believe that it is desirable to have a confirmation of this finding also using a different imaging modality. However, a direct explanation of this finding is that, when in supine position, the pulsation of the IJV is a distension of its wall. This result is very important because it means that there is a time varying transmural pressure whose effect is clearly visible and cannot be neglected; in fact, large changes in transmural pressure are required to induce CSA deformation accompanied by a stretching of the wall [5, 6]. If this is true then the following points are also true: (i) the blood velocity in the IJV is a periodic function of the time with period equal to the cardiac period and (ii) the instantaneous blood velocity is given by a time function that can be derived from a flow-dynamics theory that uses the instantaneous pressure gradient as a parameter, for example, the linear Womersley solution of the Navier-Stokes equations [7].

It is worth noting that, in an elastic medium as is the IJV wall, an impulse that gives rise to a wall distension will be propagated following the wave equation of d’Alembert. The time periodic variation of the CSA and hence of pressure measured for the IJV is hence related to the propagation of pressure waves propagating from the heart toward the brain. Thus, in supine position, when the IJV is distended, the blood flow is governed by an oscillating pressure gradient [7] and pressure waves generated by the cardiac revolution are then transmitted from the heart toward the brain (see Figure 1).