Directional C-W Doppler sonography in the diagnosis of basilar artery disease.
Using directional continuous-wave Doppler sonography of the vertebral arteries, we have investigated 1,540 patients during the past 5 years. On the basis of unilateral and bilateral retrograde brachial angiograms in the same patients (a total of 1,989 angiograms) we have developed sonographic criteria for demonstrating a significant increase in the peripheral resistance of both distal vertebral arteries and/or the basilar artery. All 11 cases of basilar artery stenosis of at least 60% reduction in lumen diameter (as shown by angiography) exhibited an approximately 40% or higher reduction in the sum of the modified Pourcelot indices of both vertebral arteries with respect to age-matched controls. All 3 stenoses of less than 60% reduction in lumen diameter were not detected by sonography. Even a good collateral circulation through rete mirabile anastomoses did not normalize the modified Pourcelot indices. One case of a persistent primitive trigeminal artery with thin-calibered vertebral arteries was also detected by sonography. The high percent of patients with one hypoplastic vertebral artery in the group with basilar artery stenoses indicates an increased risk for atherosclerosis of the basilar and/or distal vertebral artery in these patients. All 14 angiographically verified occlusions of the basilar artery were detected by sonographic criteria independent of the occlusion localization. Thus, we believe that directional continuous-wave Doppler sonography is a reliable technique for detecting basilar artery stenoses of at least 60% reduction in lumen diameter and basilar artery occlusions.
- Copyright © 1987 by American Heart Association