Transcranial measurement of blood velocities in the basal cerebral arteries using pulsed Doppler ultrasound: velocity as an index of flow

Ultrasound Med Biol. 1986 Jan;12(1):15-21. doi: 10.1016/0301-5629(86)90139-0.


Blood velocities have been measured transcranially, at small Doppler angles, in the middle cerebral artery of normal volunteers. Cerebral blood flow was changed by varying carbon dioxide tension. In four volunteers, the relationships between arterial pCO2 and percentage change in intensity weighted mean, median, and maximum Doppler-shifted frequencies in the internal carotid and middle cerebral arteries were linear with slopes of 2.5 and 2.8% per mm Hg change in pCO2. In 38 volunteers, the relationship between end-expiratory pCO2 and time-averaged maximum Doppler frequency was linear over the range of pCO2 20-60 mm Hg with slopes of 2.5 and 2.9 percentage change per mm Hg, for internal carotid and middle cerebral, respectively. These results are very similar to those reported using direct methods of measuring cerebral blood flow. As the transcranial Doppler method is reproducible, this indicates that changes in middle cerebral blood velocity may be used to monitor changes in flow.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / physiology
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ultrasonics / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography / methods*


  • Carbon Dioxide