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Stroke. 1994 Jan;25(1):17-22.

Estimation of cerebral blood flow through color duplex sonography of the carotid and vertebral arteries in healthy adults.

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Division of Neuropediatrics, Children's Hospital of the University of Tübingen, Germany.



To noninvasively estimate cerebral blood flow volume, a prospective study of color duplex sonography of the common, external, and internal carotid arteries and vertebral arteries of healthy adults was done. Cerebral blood flow was calculated with the sum of flow volumes in the internal carotid and vertebral arteries of both sides.


Using a 7.0-MHz linear transducer of a computed sonography system, cervical arteries of 48 volunteers (23 women, 25 men; mean age, 35 +/- 12 years) were examined. We measured angle-corrected time-averaged velocities and the diameter of the vessels and calculated the flow volumes of all arteries. In addition, peak systolic, maximum end-diastolic, and time-averaged maximum velocities and the resistance, pulsatility, and spectral broadening indexes were determined. Furthermore, we analyzed the side-to-side difference, age dependence, and long-term reproducibility of these parameters.


The mean +/- SD values of flow volumes in the common, internal, and external carotid and vertebral arteries were 470 +/- 120, 265 +/- 62, 160 +/- 66, and 85 +/- 33 mL/min on either side, respectively. Total cerebral blood flow was 701 +/- 104 mL/min (corresponding to 54 +/- 8 mL/100 g per minute), with no variation in age or sex. Long-term reproducibility of cerebral blood flow and flow volumes in all vessels was significant (P < .01).


We conclude that color duplex sonography of cervical arteries is potentially a practical method for estimating total cerebral blood flow. This noninvasive technique may be ideally suited for bedside and follow-up examinations of the critically ill patient. In future studies it should be compared with established radionuclide techniques.

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