Changes in cerebral blood flow induced by passive and active elbow and hand movements

Maria Matteis, Carlo Caltagirone, Elio Troisi, Fabrizio Vernieri, Bruno C. Monaldo, Mauro Silvestrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (TCD) has been widely used to obtain information about changes in cerebral perfusion during motor activity after stroke. This type of application is greatly limited when severe motor deficits are present that impede the performance of an active motor task. In this study, we explored the effect of performing passive arm movements on cerebral perfusion. Twenty healthy subjects were investigated. A bilateral TCD monitoring of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) flow velocity was performed during the following experimental conditions: 1-min of active and passive flexion-extension elbow movement and 1-min of active and passive dorsal extension hand movement. Each task was performed with both left and right arms. The percentage increase in flow velocity from rest to task performance was calculated. Each task produced a significantly greater increase in mean flow velocity in the contralateral MCA with respect to the ipsilateral. When comparing the effect of passive and active tasks, no significant difference in mean flow velocity changes recorded in the ipsilateral and the contralateral MCA was detected regarding either elbow or hand movements. These findings demonstrate the possibility of obtaining information about changes in hemispheric cerebral perfusion during passive movements involving elbow and hand. This type of application deserves further attention in the study of cerebral functional changes following cerebral lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-108
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Cerebral haemodynamics
  • Passive movements
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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