Clinical correlates of high-intensity transient signals detected on transcranial Doppler sonography in patients with cerebrovascular disease.
High-intensity transient signals detected by transcranial Doppler sonography have been associated with particulate cerebral emboli. Their clinical correlates are poorly understood. This study was undertaken to assess their relation to cerebral ischemia and to determine whether the severity of cerebral arterial stenosis has an impact on their occurrence.
We studied 96 arteries in 75 consecutive patients with extracranial or intracranial arterial lesions or potential cardiac sources of cerebral embolism. Sixty patients had histories of cerebral or retinal transient ischemic attacks or infarcts, and 15 were asymptomatic. The diagnosis of ischemia was based on the clinical presentation and was supported by extensive laboratory testing. A transcranial Doppler sonography unit equipped with special software for emboli detection was used. Signals were selected based on criteria established a priori.
Signals were detected in the territories of 28.3% of symptomatic and 11.6% of asymptomatic arteries. The difference was significant (P = .045). When patients with suspected cardiac embolic sources were excluded, the difference between symptomatic (27.9%) and asymptomatic (2.9%) arteries remained significant (P = .003), and signals were more frequent distal to arteries with more than 50% area stenosis (23.5%) than arteries with stenoses equal to or less than 50% (3.7%) (P = .028). In patients with only extracranial internal carotid artery stenoses, the difference between these degrees of stenosis remained significant (P = .043).
We conclude that high-intensity transient signals are significantly more common in the territories of symptomatic arteries and distal to lesions causing more than 50% stenosis. These findings may have diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association