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Zentralbl Neurochir. 2000;61(1):7-13.

[Value of transcranial doppler ultrasonography compared with scintigraphic techniques and EEG in brain death].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Neurochirurgische Klinik, Universität Würzburg. Ralf.Burger@klinik.uni-regensburg.de


Since 1991 transcranial doppler sonography has been accepted in Germany as a technical confirmatory test for the assessment of a cerebral circulatory arrest in patients fulfilling the clinical criteria of brain death. This study correlated transcranial doppler findings to established scintigraphic methods such as planar scintigraphy, 99mTc-HMPAO SPECT and EEG patterns. 21 patients (15 males/6 females, mean age 15-69 yrs.) fulfilled all clinical criteria of brain death. They suffered from head injuries and spontaneous bleedings. All clinical and technical investigations were performed within 60-90 minutes. In 14/21 patients clinical findings and all confirmatory tests were consistent with brain death. Planar scintigraphy and SPECT gave completely corresponding results in all 21 patients. 7 patients showed not corresponding results. In two head-injured patients with skull defects TCD yielded an oscillating flow in the MCA but SPECT/planar scintigraphy gave a residual perfusion in the related brain areas. A corresponding residual EEG pattern was seen in one case. A patient with osteoclastic skull defect showed a collateral flow from the external carotid artery and another case a secondary reperfusion in depth of a regular expected MCA signal 12 hours after definitely verification of systolic spikes in the Circle of Willis. No cerebral perfusion was detectable in the scintigraphique techniques. In the three remainder with rest activity in EEG, TCD and radionuclide methods showed no intracranial perfusion. In the presence of open skull fractures, external liquor drainages and osteoclastic craniotomies oscillating flow in TCD does not constantly represent a cerebral circulatory arrest. Awaiting of systolic spikes is absolutely necessary, if no radionuclide method is available. Determination of brain death by TCD should be carried out by an experienced investigator since unexpected collateral flow signals can be misinterpreted.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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