Outline the physiological factors that influence cerebral blood flow.
Overall, this question was poorly answered with a high failure rate. A good answer gave a normal value, iterated that CBF is held relatively constant by autoregulation, and proceeded to divide factors affecting CBF into categories with an explanation/description of each. Those factors with the greatest influence were expected to have more accompanying information (e.g., pressure/myogenic autoregulation, metabolic). Systemic factors such as MAP, O2, CO2 were expected to be mentioned with detail of the impact (i.e., key values, relationships demonstrated with a description and/or labelled graph). Local factors within the brain such as H+ concentration/pH, metabolic activity (including the impact of temperature, inclusion of mediators, regional variation based on activity & grey versus white matter) were also expected to be mentioned. Few answers mentioned impact of pH change independently of CO2. Few answers mentioned how CO2 changes the pH of CSF and that over time, this impact is buffered/reduces. The role of the sympathetic nervous system was required to be mentioned although not explored in detail (although many answers overstated the importance of the SNS on CBF or gave a simplistic concept such as increased SNS activity increases CBF). Many answers focussed on descriptions of the Monro-Kelly doctrine and ICP to the exclusion of the aforementioned factors or included detail on factors influencing MAP which were not required (and irrelevant when within the autoregulation range). Many answers were simplistic: e.g., increase MAP increase CPP therefore increase CBF, or by stating CO2/O2 without mentioning a relationship or the limits/patterns of the relationship. Many answers failed to separate the effect of systemic PaO2 and PaCO2 from metabolic autoregulation.
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