Objective: To review the use of transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (TCD) and transcranial color-coded sonography (TCCS) for diagnosis.
Methods: The authors searched the literature for evidence of 1) if TCD provides useful information in specific clinical settings; 2) if using this information improves clinical decision making, as reflected by improved patient outcomes; and 3) if TCD is preferable to other diagnostic tests in these clinical situations.
Results: TCD is of established value in the screening of children aged 2 to 16 years with sickle cell disease for stroke risk (Type A, Class I) and the detection and monitoring of angiographic vasospasm after spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (Type A, Class I to II). TCD and TCCS provide important information and may have value for detection of intracranial steno-occlusive disease (Type B, Class II to III), vasomotor reactivity testing (Type B, Class II to III), detection of cerebral circulatory arrest/brain death (Type A, Class II), monitoring carotid endarterectomy (Type B, Class II to III), monitoring cerebral thrombolysis (Type B, Class II to III), and monitoring coronary artery bypass graft operations (Type B to C, Class II to III). Contrast-enhanced TCD/TCCS can also provide useful information in right-to-left cardiac/extracardiac shunts (Type A, Class II), intracranial occlusive disease (Type B, Class II to IV), and hemorrhagic cerebrovascular disease (Type B, Class II to IV), although other techniques may be preferable in these settings.