Objective: To evaluate the findings of magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD) in patients with a clinical diagnosis of vertebrobasilar insufficiency (VBI).
Method: From our outpatient neurotology clinic, we selected patients (using the criteria proposed by Grad and Baloh) with a clinical diagnosis of VBI. We excluded patients with any definite cause for vestibular symptoms, a noncontrolled metabolic disease or any contraindication to MRA or TCD. The patients in the study group were sex- and age-matched with subjects who did not have vestibular symptoms (control group). Our final group of patients included 24 patients (study, n=12; control, n=12).
Results: The MRA results did not demonstrate significant differences in the findings between our study and control groups. TCD demonstrated that the systolic pulse velocity of the right middle cerebral artery, end diastolic velocity of the basilar artery, pulsatility index (PI) of the left middle cerebral artery, PI of the right middle cerebral artery, and PI of the basilar artery were significantly higher in the study group than in the control group, suggesting abnormalities affecting the microcirculation of patients with a clinical diagnosis of VBI compared with controls.
Conclusion: MRA failed to reveal abnormalities in patients with a clinical diagnosis of VBI compared with controls. The PI of the basilar artery, measured using TCD, demonstrated high sensitivity (91%) and specificity (91%) for detecting clinically diagnosed VBI.