Mesenteric and celiac duplex scanning: a validation study

J Vasc Surg. 1998 Jun;27(6):1078-87; discussion 1088. doi: 10.1016/s0741-5214(98)60010-0.


Purpose: To validate the accuracy of previously established duplex ultrasound criteria for > or =50% superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and celiac artery (CA) stenosis by comparison with arteriography.

Methods: Duplex criteria established retrospectively in our laboratory in 1991 identified an end-diastolic velocity (EDV) > or =45 cm/sec, or no flow signal, as highly sensitive (100%) and specific (92%) indicators for SMA stenosis > or =50% or occlusion. EDV was more accurate (95%) than peak systolic velocity (PSV), which had a maximal accuracy of 86% at a PSV > or =300 cm/sec, with low sensitivity (62%), but high specificity (100%). For CA, accurate velocity thresholds were not identified, but we subsequently noted that retrograde common hepatic artery flow direction from SMA collateral was highly predictive of severe CA stenosis or occlusion. Since publication of those findings, 243 mesenteric duplex scans were performed for clinical evaluation of suspected chronic mesenteric ischemia. Angiographic confirmation was available for a subset of 46. SMA and CA diameters were measured on lateral aortograms by observers blinded to the duplex results, and the original duplex diagnostic criteria were tested for accuracy. In addition, receiver operator characteristic curve analysis was performed on the velocity data to identify the most accurate velocity thresholds in the new data.

Results: Duplex was technically adequate in 98% of SMA, 96% of CA, and 89% of hepatic arteries, and arteriograms were adequate in 100% of SMA and 98% of CA. For the SMA, EDV > or =45 cm/sec again provided the best sensitivity (90%), specificity (91%), positive predictive value (90%), negative predictive value (91%), and overall accuracy (91%). As in the retrospective study, PSV > or =300 cm/sec provided low overall accuracy (81%), low sensitivity (60%), but high specificity (100%). Lowering the PSV threshold improved sensitivity but reduced accuracy. For CA, retrograde common hepatic artery flow direction was 100% predictive of severe CA stenosis or occlusion. Velocity data in CA provided accuracy not found in the original study. EDV > or =55 cm/sec or no flow signal had best overall accuracy (95%) with high sensitivity (93%) and specificity (100%). PSV > or =200 cm/sec or no signal also had excellent accuracy (93%), sensitivity (93%), and specificity (94%). In addition, three of four anatomic anomalies were correctly identified by duplex. These included one right hepatic and one common hepatic artery originating from the SMA, and one common celiacomesenteric trunk.

Conclusion: This validation analysis confirms that duplex velocity criteria are accurate in the identification of mesenteric occlusive disease. Retrograde common hepatic artery flow direction correctly predicts severe CA stenosis or occlusion. Duplex ultrasound may also identify mesenteric anatomic variants that can influence study interpretation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Celiac Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Celiac Artery / physiology
  • Female
  • Hepatic Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Hepatic Artery / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / diagnostic imaging*
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • ROC Curve
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex / methods
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex / statistics & numerical data