Transcranial Doppler in stroke

Biomed Pharmacother. 2001 Jun;55(5):247-57. doi: 10.1016/s0753-3322(01)00063-4.


Transcranial Doppler (TCD) has been extensively used in various clinical situations, and in the last two decades has established its role in the management of patients with cerebrovascular disease and stroke. Based on the Doppler principle, it uses ultrasound waves to insonate the blood vessels supplying the brain to obtain hemodynamic information. Anatomic abnormalities of vascular occlusion, stenosis and spasm can be indirectly derived. Intracranial arterial disease is an important cause of ischemic stroke and TCD can detect these with a fair amount of sensitivity and specificity. In hemodynamically significant extracranial internal carotid artery disease, TCD shows significant abnormalities in flow dynamics of the anterior circulation and abnormalities of cerebral vasomotor reactivity. A distinct advantage of TCD is the ability to monitor blood flow in a blood vessel over prolonged periods of time, which has shown microembolic signals in acute ischemic stroke, carotid artery disease, atrial fibrillation and during angiography. In acute ischemic stroke, TCD can be used to elucidate stroke mechanisms, plan and monitor treatment, and determine prognosis. In an era when stroke is increasingly being recognized as an emergency requiring immediate treatment, TCD may be capable of providing rapid information about the hemodynamic status of the cerebral circulation, within the time frame of the rather small 'therapeutic window'. TCD predicts vasospasm with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity and because of its non-invasive nature repeated assessments can be performed after subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Embolism and Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial