Color Doppler flow imaging of the normal and abnormal orbit

Radiology. 1989 Nov;173(2):511-6. doi: 10.1148/radiology.173.2.2678264.


Twenty-six normal orbits (16 subjects) and seven patients with suspected orbital disease were studied with color Doppler flow imaging CDFI). Arterial structures consistently identified included the ophthalmic artery, central retinal artery, and posterior ciliary branches. The terminal lacrimal branch was seen in the majority of orbits (n = 19). Venous structures consistently seen included the central retinal vein and venae vorticosae; the superior ophthalmic vein was identified in the majority of normal orbits (n = 22). Response of the superior ophthalmic vein to the Valsalva maneuver was assessed in six of the normal subjects (12 orbits). Retrograde flow was typically seen during the maneuver and accentuated antegrade flow after cessation of the maneuver. Pathologic entities correctly diagnosed with CDFI included a dural arteriovenous malformation (AVM) with spontaneous carotid-cavernous fistula, an orbital AVM, and superior ophthalmic vein thrombosis. Vascular lesions were excluded in two patients with orbital masses. Bilaterally enlarged superior ophthalmic veins were identified in a patient with unilateral symptoms suggestive of a varix; CDFI results were confirmed with computed tomography, but orbital venograms were interpreted as normal. These findings suggest that CDFI may be helpful in the evaluation of suspected vascular orbital disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmic Artery / anatomy & histology
  • Ophthalmic Artery / pathology
  • Ophthalmic Artery / physiopathology
  • Orbit / anatomy & histology
  • Orbit / blood supply*
  • Orbit / pathology
  • Orbital Diseases / diagnosis
  • Orbital Diseases / pathology
  • Orbital Diseases / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography*
  • Veins / anatomy & histology
  • Veins / pathology
  • Veins / physiopathology