Practice Standards for Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound: Part I—Test Performance

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Indications for the clinical use of transcranial Doppler (TCD) continue to expand while scanning protocols and quality of reporting vary between institutions. Based on literature analysis and extensive personal experience, an international expert panel started the development of guidelines for TCD performance, interpretation, and competence. The first part describes complete diagnostic spectral TCD examination for patients with cerebrovascular diseases. Cranial temporal bone windows are used for the detection of the middle cerebral arteries (MCA), anterior cerebral arteries (ACA), posterior cerebral arteries (PCA), C1 segment of the internal carotid arteries (ICA), and collateralization of flow via the anterior (AComA) and posterior (PComA) communicating arteries; orbital windows—for the ophthalmic artery (OA) and ICA siphon; the foraminal window—for the terminal vertebral (VA) and basilar (BA) arteries. Although there is a significant individual variability of the circle of Willis with and without disease, the complete diagnostic TCD examination should include bilateral assessment of the M2 (arbitrarily located at 30–40 mm depth), M1 (40–65 mm) MCA [with M1 MCA mid-point at 50 mm (range 45–55 mm), average length 16 mm (range 5–24 mm), A1 ACA (60–75 mm), C1 ICA (60–70 mm), P1-P2 PCA (average depth 63 mm (range 55–75 mm), AComA (70–80 mm), PComA (58–65 mm), OA (40–50 mm), ICA siphons (55–65 mm), terminal VA (40–75 mm), proximal (75–80), mid (80–90 mm), and distal (90–110 mm) BA]. The distal ICA on the neck (40–60 mm) can be located via submandibular windows to calculate the VMCA/VICA index, or the Lindegaard ratio for vasospasm grading after subarachnoid hemorrhage. Performance goals of diagnostic TCD are to detect and optimize arterial segment-specific spectral waveforms, determine flow direction, measure cerebral blood flow velocities and flow pulsatility in the above-mentioned arteries. These practice standards will assist laboratory accreditation processes by providing a standard scanning protocol with transducer positioning and orientation, depth selection and vessel identification for ultrasound devices equipped with spectral Doppler and power motion Doppler.

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