The term 'luxury perfusion' was coined nearly 50 years ago after observation of bright-red blood in the cerebral veins of adults with various brain pathologies. The bright-red blood represents decreased oxygen extraction and hence the perfusion is 'luxurious' compared to oxygen needs. Gradual loss of cellular energy charge during the hours following severe birth asphyxia was observed twenty years later by sequential cranial magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This led to the concept of delayed energy failure that is linked to mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptotic cell death. Abnormally increased perfusion and lack of normal cerebral blood flow regulation are also typically present, but whether the perfusion abnormalities at this secondary stage are detrimental, beneficial, or a mere epiphenomenon remains elusive. In contrast, incomplete reoxygenation of the brain during and following resuscitation is likely to compromise outcome. The clinical value of cerebral oximetry in this context can only be examined in a randomised clinical trial.
Early Human Development, 2014, Vol 90, Issue 10, p. 703-705