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Doppler ultrasound and its applications in neurology

The Doppler ultrasound and intracranial ultrasound scan is a non-invasive, real-time imaging investigation that highlights blood vessels in the head, neck, and upper chest, their structural changes, as well as blood circulation in this system.

“This type of performant investigation, referred to in terms of specialty as cervical-cerebral (transcranial) ultrasound, is used in the study of the fetal or newborn brain and, in the case of adults, it is used in the investigation of blood vessels at the level of the cervical and cerebral region. The Doppler ultrasound can determine the existence of stenoses, occlusions, dissections or malformations of the blood vessels,” explains Ms Hertea Cristina, Neurology Consulatant with cervical-cerebral ultrasound competence at Neuroaxis clinic.

 The Cervical-cerebral ultrasonography (the Transcranial Doppler) has the highest clinical applicability in the detection and staging of stenoses, but is also used successfully for:

  • The detection of arterial dissection
  • In monitoring patients who have undergone endarterectomy or Stenting and Angioplasty
  • Detection of cerebral vasospasm (which appears as a complication in subarachnoid hemorrhage)
  • Arterio-venous fistulas (e.g. the carotid-cavernous fistula)
  • In fibro-muscular dysplasia
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformation

What are the advantages of the Doppler ultrasound

  • it is an 100% non-invasive investigation. The patient has no discomfort during the investigation;
  • Zero risks for patients. It is a procedure that does not involve radiation of any kind;
  • It is superior in cost-effectiveness as compared to other methods used to investigate cerebral vascular axis;
  • It is reproducible;
  • Provides real-time information, which increases accuracy and allows an accurate diagnosis.

How it works

The Doppler ultrasound uses ultrasound, and the neurosonology device is equipped with a transducer that is capable of transforming electrical energy into ultrasounds, with a frequency of 5-20 kHz.

Waves are transmitted to the brain, with different tissues having variable acoustic impedance, which translates into images with points of different brightnes. In this way the examined structures appear as an image, most commonly in shades of grey.

Thus, the large arteries at the base of the neck can be seen, as well as their major intracranial branches.

Last Updated on February 21, 2020

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