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Cardiovasc Ultrasound. 2004 Jan 14;2:1.

A comparison of Power Doppler with conventional sonographic imaging for the evaluation of renal artery stenosis.

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Dipartimento Clinico - Sperimentale di Medicina e Farmacologia, Università degli Studi di Messina, Policlinico G, Martino, Messina, Italy.



Power Doppler (PD) has improved diagnostic capabilities of vascular sonography, mainly because it is independent from the angle of insonation. We evaluated this technique in a prospective comparison with conventional imaging, consisting in Duplex and Color Doppler, for the evaluation of Renal Artery (RA) stenosis.


Sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of PD and conventional imaging were assessed in a blinded fashion on eighteen patients, 9 with angiographic evidence of unilateral RA stenosis (hypertensive patients) and 9 with angiographically normal arteries (control group). PD images were interpreted with an angiography-like criteria.


In the control group both techniques allowed correct visualization of 16 out of the 18 normal arteries (93% specificity). Only in five hypertensive patients RA stenosis was correctly identified with conventional technique (56% sensitivity and 86% negative predictive value); PD was successful in all hypertensive patients (100% sensitivity and negative predictive value), since the operators could obtain in each case of RA stenosis a sharp color signal of the whole vessel with a clear "minus" at the point of narrowing of the lumen. All results were statistically significant (p < 0.01).


This study demonstrates that PD is superior to conventional imaging, in terms of sensitivity and specificity, for the diagnosis of RA stenosis, because it allows a clear visualization of the whole stenotic vascular lumen. Especially if it is used in concert with the other sonographic techniques, PD can enable a more accurate imaging of renovascular disease with results that seem comparable to selective angiography.

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