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Radiographics. 2013 Jan-Feb;33(1):E1-E14. doi: 10.1148/rg.331125071.

Advances in transcranial Doppler US: imaging ahead.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St, PO Box 208042, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (US) is a noninvasive, portable technique for evaluating the intracranial vasculature. It has found its most useful clinical application in the detection of vasospasm involving the cerebral vessels after subarachnoid hemorrhage due to aneurysm rupture. The technique has become an integral part of monitoring and managing patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage in the neurologic intensive care unit. In addition, it has proved useful for evaluating the intracranial vasculature in patients with sickle cell disease, stroke, or brain death. Transcranial US originated as a "blind" nonimaging study in which pulsed Doppler technology was used. Identification of the major intracranial vessels and evaluation of those vessels for vasospasm relied on spectral waveforms obtained in each vessel and was based on the depth of the vessel from the skull, the direction of blood flow, and the orientation of the transducer. Recent advances in US technology allow the use of gray-scale, spectral Doppler, and color Doppler flow imaging to directly visualize intracranial vessels, thereby simplifying flow velocity measurements and enhancing their accuracy for vasospasm detection. In particular, measurements of peak systolic velocity and mean flow velocity and calculation of the Lindegaard ratio facilitate the identification of vessels that may be in vasospasm and help differentiate vasospasm from physiologic conditions such as hyperemia and autoregulation. Thus, gray-scale and color Doppler flow imaging offer many advantages over the original pulsed Doppler technique for evaluating the intracranial vasculature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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