Velocity criteria for intracranial stenosis revisited: An international multicenter study of transcranial Doppler and digital subtraction angiography

Academic Article


  • Background and Purpose: Intracranial atherosclerotic disease is associated with a high risk of stroke recurrence. We aimed to determine accuracy of transcranial Doppler screening at laboratories that share the same standardized scanning protocol. Methods: Patients with symptoms of cerebral ischemia were prospectively studied. Stroke Outcomes and Neuroimaging of Intracranial Atherosclerosis (SONIA) criteria were used for identification of ≥50% stenosis. We determined velocity cutoffs for ≥70% stenosis on digital subtraction angiography by Warfarin-Aspirin Symptomatic Intracranial Disease criteria and evaluated novel stenotic/prestenotic ratio and low-velocity criteria. Results: A total of 102 patients with intracranial atherosclerotic disease (age 57 ±13 years; 72% men; median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale 3, interquartile range 6) provided 690 transcranial Doppler/digital subtraction angiography vessel pairs. On digital subtraction angiography, ≥50% stenosis was found in 97 and ≥70% stenosis in 62 arteries. Predictive values for transcranial Doppler SONIA criteria were similar (P>0.9) between middle cerebral artery (sensitivity 78%, specificity 93%, positive predictive value 73%, negative predictive value 94%, and overall accuracy 90%) and vertebral artery/basilar artery (69%, 98%, 88%, 93%, and 92%). As a single velocity criterion, most sensitive mean flow velocity thresholds for ≥70% stenosis were: middle cerebral artery >120 cm/s (71%) and vertebral artery/basilar artery >110 cm/s (55%). Optimal combined criteria for ≥70% stenosis were: middle cerebral artery >120 cm/s, or stenotic/prestenotic ratio ≥3, or low velocity (sensitivity 91%, specificity 80%, receiver operating characteristic 0.858), and vertebral artery/basilar artery >110 cm/s or stenotic/prestenotic ratio ≥3 (60%, 95%, 0.769, respectively). Conclusions: At laboratories with a standardized scanning protocol, SONIA mean flow velocity criteria remain reliably predictive of ≥50% stenosis. Novel velocity/ratio criteria for ≥70% stenosis increased sensitivity and showed good agreement with invasive angiography. © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.
  • Authors

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    Author List

  • Zhao L; Barlinn K; Sharma VK; Tsivgoulis G; Cava LF; Vasdekis SN; Teoh HL; Triantafyllou N; Chan BPL; Sharma A
  • Start Page

  • 3429
  • End Page

  • 3434
  • Volume

  • 42
  • Issue

  • 12