Since the venous system is affected by gravity, upright computed tomography (CT) in addition to conventional supine CT has great potential for evaluating postural changes in the venous system. We evaluated the morphological differences in the head and neck vessels by performing a contrast CT study in both the supine and the sitting positions. In this study, the 20 included participants (10 men and 10 women) were healthy adults aged 30 to 55 years. The cross-sectional area of the cervical vessels, craniocervical junction veins, and intracranial vessels were obtained quantitatively. Venous sinuses and venous plexuses that were difficult to measure were evaluated qualitatively. The average change in areas from a supine to an upright posture was − 77.87 ± 15.99% (P < 0.0001) in the right internal jugular vein (IJV), − 69.42 ± 23.15% (P < 0.0001) in the left IJV, − 61.52 ± 12.81% (P < 0.0001) in the right external jugular vein (EJV), and − 58.91 ± 17.37% (P < 0.0001) in the left EJV. In contrast, the change in the anterior condylar vein (ACV) from a supine to an upright posture was approximately + 144% (P < 0.005) on the right side and + 110% (P < 0.05) on the left side. In addition, according to the qualitative analysis, the posterior venous structures including the anterior condylar confluence (ACC) of the craniocervical junction became more prominent in an upright posture. Despite these changes, the intracranial vessels showed almost no change between postures. From a supine to an upright position, the IJVs and EJVs above the heart collapsed, and venous channels including the ACCs and ACVs opened, switching the main cerebral venous drainage from the IJVs to the vertebral venous system. Upright head CT angiography can be useful for investigating physiological and pathophysiological hemodynamics of the venous system accompanying postural changes.
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