Carotid Artery Stenosis: Grayscale and Doppler Ultrasound Diagnosis—Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound Consensus Conference

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Abstract

Abstract:

The Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound convened a multidisciplinary panel of experts in the field of vascular ultrasonography (US) to come to a consensus regarding Doppler US for assistance in the diagnosis of carotid artery stenosis. The panel's consensus statement is believed to represent a reasonable position on the basis of analysis of available literature and panelists' experience. Key elements of the statement include the following: First, all internal carotid artery (ICA) examinations should be performed with grayscale, color Doppler, and spectral Doppler US. Second, the degree of stenosis determined at grayscale and Doppler US should be stratified into the categories of normal (no stenosis), less than 50% stenosis, 50 to 69% stenosis, ≥70% stenosis to near occlusion, near occlusion, and total occlusion. Third, ICA peak systolic velocity (PSV) and the presence of plaque on grayscale and/or color Doppler images are primarily used in the diagnosis and grading of ICA stenosis. Two additional parameters (the ICA-to-common carotid artery PSV ratio and ICA end diastolic velocity) may also be used when clinical or technical factors raise concern that ICA PSV may not be representative of the extent of disease. Fourth, ICA should be diagnosed as normal when ICA PSV is less than 125 cm/second and no plaque or intimal thickening is visible, less than 50% stenosis when ICA PSV is less than 125 cm/second and plaque or intimal thickening is visible, 50 to 69% stenosis when ICA PSV is 125 to 230 cm/second and plaque is visible, ≥70% stenosis to near occlusion when ICA PSV is more than 230 cm/second and visible plaque and lumen narrowing are seen, near occlusion when there is a markedly narrowed lumen on color Doppler US, and total occlusion when there is no detectable patent lumen on grayscale US and no flow on spectral, power, and color Doppler US. Fifth, the final report should discuss velocity measurements and grayscale and color Doppler findings. Study limitations should be noted when they exist. The conclusion should state an estimated degree of ICA stenosis as reflected in these categories. The panel also considered various technical aspects of carotid US and methods for quality assessment, and identified several important unanswered questions meriting future research.

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