Value of transcranial Doppler indices in predicting raised ICP in infantile hydrocephalus. A study with review of the literature

Childs Nerv Syst. 1995 Oct;11(10):595-603. doi: 10.1007/BF00300999.


Cerebral hemodynamic changes in infants with progressive hydrocephalus have been studied with the transcranial Doppler (TCD) technique. Several authors have referred to the correlation between the hemodynamic changes and increased intracranial pressure (ICP). Despite conflicting conclusions on the value of pulsatility index (PI) and resistance index (RI) measurements for monitoring infantile hydrocephalus, these pulsatility indices are the most commonly used for this purpose. Although clinical signs of raised ICP are highly variable and unreliable in infants, assumptions have been made in most of the studies about the presence of elevated ICP on the basis of the patient's clinical state. Few studies have reported on actual ICP values, however, and a direct relationship between ICP and TCD changes has never been adequately demonstrated. In the present study, this relationship was investigated in long-term simultaneous TCD/ICP measurements, in an attempt to develop a noninvasive method of monitoring the effect of ICP on intracranial hemodynamics. Two groups of data sets were established. Group I consisted of pre- and postoperative (shunt implantation) TCD/ICP measurements. Group II were long-term simultaneous TCD/ICP recordings showing significant ICP variations. In most of the postoperative measurements there was a decrease in the average PI and RI values. The correlation between PI or RI and ICP in the long-term simultaneous recordings, however, was generally poor. The risk of obtaining false positive or false negative PI or RI values in short-term measurements was also demonstrated. It can be concluded from our results, besides the wide range of reference values for the Doppler indices and extracranial influences upon them, that the present Doppler indices are inadequate for monitoring the complex intracranial dynamic responses in patients with raised ICP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hydrocephalus / physiopathology
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intracranial Pressure / physiology*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Recurrence
  • Reference Values
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial*
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology