Transcranial Doppler detection of vertebrobasilar vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Transcranial Doppler sonography is of established value in the detection and monitoring of middle cerebral artery vasospasm. Little information exists on the utility of transcranial Doppler for detection of posterior circulation vasospasm.
Cerebral angiography and conventional hand-held transcranial Doppler sonography were compared to determine sensitivity and specificity of transcranial Doppler for detection of vertebral and basilar artery vasospasm.
Of 59 consecutive subarachnoid hemorrhage patients with transcranial Doppler angiogram correlations, 42 underwent posterior circulation angiography to evaluate 64 vertebral arteries and 42 basilar arteries during the period of risk for vasospasm and had technically adequate transcranial Doppler examinations within 24 hours of the angiogram. A mean flow velocity of 60 cm/s and above was indicative of both vertebral and basilar artery vasospasm. For the vertebral artery, there were 7 true-positive test results, 42 true-negatives, 6 false-positives (unknown cause in 3, increased collateral flow in 1, adjacent vessel vasospasm in 1, hyperperfusion in 1), and 9 false-negatives (anatomic in 7, operator error in 2). Sensitivity was 44% and specificity was 87.5%. For the basilar artery, there were 10 true-positives, 23 true-negatives, 6 false-positives (unknown cause in 4, hyperemia/hyperperfusion in 1, increased collateral flow in 1), and 3 false-negatives (operator error in 2, tortuous vessel course in 1). Sensitivity was 76.9% and specificity was 79.3%. When the diagnostic criterion was changed to > or = 80 cm/s (vertebral artery) and > or = 95 cm/s (basilar artery), all false-positive results were eliminated (specificity and positive predictive value, 100%).
Our data suggest that transcranial Doppler has good specificity for the detection of vertebral artery vasospasm and good sensitivity and specificity for the detection of basilar artery vasospasm. Transcranial Doppler is highly specific (100%) for vertebral and basilar artery vasospasm when flow velocities are > or = 80 and > or = 95 cm/s, respectively.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association