Transcranial Doppler pulsatility in vasodilation and stenosis

C. A. Giller, K. Hodges, H. H. Batjer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Although blood velocity in the major intracranial vessels is readily measured with transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD), the interpretation of velocity changes is by no means straightforward. For example, a velocity increase can arise from either a local stenosis or a decrease in downstream resistance, and these mechanisms have contradictory implications for blood flow. To determine whether TCD pulsatility might distinguish these two mechanisms. Doppler ultrasonic readings were taken from an artificial vascular model under conditions of either stenosis or distal dilation. In addition, TCD studies of nine patients with unihemispheric arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) and 16 TCD studies of seven patients with unihemispheric aneurysmal vasospasm were reviewed, and pulsatilities of the AVM's (representing decreased resistance) were compared with those of the vasospastic vessels (representing stenosis). The average percentage drop in pulsatility in the vasodilated configuration of the model/percentage increase in velocity was 0.38 ± 0.08 (± standard error of the mean), while that for stenosis was 0.20 ± 0.01. Similar comparisons of the patient population yielded 0.67 ± 0.16 for the AVM group and 0.26 ± 0.04 for the vasospasm group. These differences were significant (p<0.05). The fall in pulsatility associated with a given increase in velocity is significantly greater when the velocity increase arises from diminished downstream resistance than from stenosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)901-906
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1990


  • Doppler velocimetry
  • Stenosis, arterial
  • hemodynamics
  • pulsatility
  • ultrasound
  • vasodilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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