A new method for the simultaneous measurement of blood flow velocity and pial vessel diameter is described. The system consists basically of a high-sensitivity vidicon camera, camera control, width analyzer, video densitometer, TV monitor, desktop computer, and multi-pen recorder. The pial vessels are visualized through a cranial window at 25-200x magnification on the TV monitor. The diameter of three target vessels can be recorded simultaneously on the recorder by adjustment of controllable video signal gates using the width analyzer. At the same time, the optical densities of two targets at points upstream and downstream of the pial vessel are measured continuously with video densitometers, and their outputs are recorded on the polygraph and analyzed by the computer. The time difference in the two peaks of time-concentration curves, produced every 2-3 s at the highest frequency by the injection of a small amount of saline through the lingual artery, is measured on-line using the computer. The flow velocity in the vessel is calculated from the time difference and the distance between the two targets. The system was shown to be stable, reliable, and rapid in response. This method may provide a useful tool for research in the field of blood circulation in the brain or any other organ.
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