Transcranial Doppler: a stethoscope for the brain-neurocritical care use

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Abstract

Transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography is a noninvasive bedside monitoring technique that can evaluate cerebral blood flow hemodynamics in the intracranial arterial vasculature.

TCD allows assessment of linear cerebral blood flow velocity, with a high temporal resolution and is inexpensive, reproducible, and portable.

The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the most commonly used TCD derived signals and measurements used commonly in neurocritical care. We describe both basic (flow velocity, pulsatility index) and advanced concepts, including critical closing pressure, wall tension, autoregulation, noninvasive intracranial pressure, brain compliance, and cerebrovascular time constant; we also describe the clinical applications of TCD to highlight their utility in the diagnosis and monitoring of cerebrovascular diseases as the “stethoscope for the brain.”

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