Background and purpose: Since functional transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (fTCD) allows convenient and fully automated quantification of language lateralization, it seems ideal for longitudinal studies of perfusion changes during deterioration as well as recovery of language functions. However, during serial examinations, the technical, stochastic, and physiological variabilities of cerebral blood flow velocities (CBFV) have to be considered. Therefore, before fTCD is accepted as a tool for evaluation of changes in lateralization in the diseased state, its reliability in healthy subjects needs to be determined.
Methods: We performed fTCD during a word generation task based on a previously validated technique with automated calculation of the averaged CBFV differences in the middle cerebral arteries providing an index of lateralization (LI).
Results: (1) The accuracy of the LI as assessed by the confidence interval was better than 1% of the mean hemispheric difference. (2) On repeated examination, LIs obtained from 10 subjects showed a high test-retest reproducibility (Pearson product moment correlation coefficient r = 0.95, P < 0.0001). (3) On 10 repeated assessments of LI in the same subject, no practice effects were detected.
Conclusions: Functional TCD is a suitable and very robust tool for the longitudinal quantitative measurement of cerebral language lateralization.