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Clin Radiol. 1992 Sep;46(3):193-7.

Non-invasive assessment of the Circle of Willis using transcranial pulsed Doppler ultrasound with angiographic correlation.

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Department of Radiology, UMDS, Guy's Hospital, London.


The ability of transcranial pulsed Doppler ultrasound (TCD) to provide a dynamic assessment of the functional capability of the Circle of Willis was assessed using conventional cerebral angiography for anatomic correlation. Eleven patients had normal four-vessel cerebral angiography prior to being investigated with ultrasound. Angiography and ultrasound both demonstrated a functional anterior communicating artery in nine of the eleven patients, giving complete agreement between the two techniques. Posterior communicating arteries were visualized angiographically in all eleven patients. Ultrasound identified bilateral functional vessels in nine, the other two patients having non-functional vessels. In these latter two patients, angiography demonstrated three of the four posterior communicating arteries to be hypoplastic and it was uncertain whether these vessels carried significant blood flow. The fourth posterior communicating artery was shown to have an absent proximal segment of the ipsilateral posterior cerebral artery, with a persistent fetal posterior communicating artery. This anatomical variation is a potential limitation of ultrasound for assessing functional posterior communicating arteries. These preliminary results indicate that a combination of the anatomical (angiographic) and dynamic (ultrasonic) data may prove to be complementary for assessing the Circle of Willis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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