Evaluating the outcome of severe head injury with transcranial Doppler ultrasonography

Neurosurg Focus. 2000 Jan 15;8(1):e8. doi: 10.3171/foc.2000.8.1.1702.


The authors conducted a study to determine the value of transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography in evaluating the outcome of severely head injured patients and to correlate the TCD values with those obtained from intracranial pressure (ICP) and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) monitoring. The authors conducted a prospective study of 125 patients with severe head injury (Glascow Coma Scale scores of less than 9) who underwent TCD ultrasonography according to the standard technique of insonating the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and measuring the mean blood flow velocity and pulsatility index within the first 24 hours of admission. The ICP and CPP values, as well as other clinical, analytical, and neuroimaging data, were also recorded. After 6 months, outcome was evaluated using the Glasgow Outcome Scale. Moderate disability and complete recovery were considered "good" outcome; death, vegetative state, and severe disability were considered "poor." In 67 patients (54%) good outcome was demonstrated whereas in 58 (46%) it was poor. The mean blood flow velocity of the MCA in patients with good outcome was 44 cm/second; in those with poor outcomes it was 36 cm/second (p < 0.003). The mean PI in cases of good outcome was 1 whereas in poor outcome was 1.56 (p < 0.0001). The correlations of ICP and CPP to PI were statistically significant (r2 = 0.6; p < 0.0001). When performed in the first 24 hours of severe head injury, TCD ultrasonography is valid in predicting the patient's outcome at 6 months and correlates significantly with ICP and CPP values.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Injuries / mortality
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / mortality
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / physiopathology*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Glasgow Outcome Scale / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial / statistics & numerical data*