Reproducibility of cerebrovascular reactivity measurements: A systematic review of neuroimaging techniques*
Cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR), the capacity of the brain to increase cerebral blood flow (CBF) to meet changes in physiological demand, is an important biomarker to evaluate brain health. Typically, this brain “stress test” is performed by using a medical imaging modality to measure the CBF change between two states: at baseline and after vasodilation. However, since there are many imaging modalities and many ways to augment CBF, a wide range of CVR values have been reported. An understanding of CVR reproducibility is critical to determine the most reliable methods to measure CVR as a clinical biomarker. This review focuses on CVR reproducibility studies using neuroimaging techniques in 32 articles comprising 427 total subjects. The literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase, and Scopus. The review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). We identified 5 factors of the experimental subjects (such as sex, blood characteristics, and smoking) and 9 factors of the measuring technique (such as the imaging modality, the type of the vasodilator, and the quantification method) that have strong effects on CVR reproducibility. Based on this review, we recommend several best practices to improve the reproducibility of CVR quantification in neuroimaging studies.