The cerebral circulation of 25 normal term infants was investigated using continuous wave Doppler ultrasound. Serial blood flow velocity signals were obtained from the common carotid and anterior cerebral arteries during the first week of life. The records were processed using a frequency spectrum analyser to provide cerebral blood velocity waveforms. The pulsatility index (PI), A/B ratio, and rise and fall slope of the waveforms were calculated. The results indicated that cerebrovascular resistance was raised appreciably on day 1 of life compared with later in the first week. In 18 of 25 infants (72%) there was no continuous carotid blood flow in the first hours of life. We suggest that the human cerebral circulation adapts to the process of birth in a similar fashion to that of animal models.
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