Detection of paradoxical cerebral echo contrast embolization by transcranial Doppler ultrasound.
Contrast echocardiography has been shown to be a sensitive method for detecting patent foramen ovale in embolic stroke, implying paradoxical embolization. However, not all two-dimensional echocardiographic studies are of diagnostic quality, and direct evidence for paradoxical cerebral embolization remains lacking. We addressed these problems by simultaneously using transcranial Doppler ultrasound and contrast echocardiography to compare relative sensitivity and concordance in the detection of right-to-left vascular shunting. Forty-six patients with stroke, transient neurologic defect, or question of atrial septal defect underwent study at rest and during Valsalva strain. Two-dimensional echocardiography detected shunting in 26% at rest and 15% during Valsalva strain, whereas transcranial Doppler study returned rates of 41% and 41%, respectively. Concordance was 82% and 75%, respectively. Discordant studies almost always had evidence of paradoxical contrast embolization by transcranial Doppler and intermediate findings by two-dimensional echocardiography. Transcranial Doppler is a sensitive, unambiguous technique for the detection of anatomic substrates and target organ involvement in patients suspected to have paradoxical cerebral embolization.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association