Introduction: Transcranial Color-Coded Sonography (TCCS) including B-mode imaging and color-coded Duplex is non-invasive, bedside and inexpensive tool for the assessment of the intracranial circulation. TCCS can be used to assess intracranial stenosis but its accuracy has not been systematically compared to CT angiography in acute stroke patients.
Hypothesis: TCCS has high accuracy when compared to CT angiography for the detection and measurement of intracranial arterial stenosis in patients with acute ischemic stroke.
Methods: In this prospective study 43 patients (67% male; mean age: 59.8 ± 11 years) with acute ischemic stroke or Transient Ischemic Accident (TIA) underwent examinations of the intracranial arteries by TCCS and CT angiography. Different examiners that were blinded to test results performed the exams. TCCS and CT angiography were performed during the hospital stay. All stenotic segments of intracranial vessels were classified into 4 groups: normal or mild (<50%), moderate (50%-70%), severe (≥70%) and subocclusion/occlusion.
Results: 580 of 645 arterial segments in 43 patients were evaluated. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of TCCD in comparison with CT angiography for the detection of moderate to severe intracranial stenosis (≥50%) were 81.5%, 100%, 100%, and 76% respectively. The Cohen’s kappa between TCCS and CT angiography was 0.76 (p<0.001).
Conclusions: TCCS is a bedside non-invasive tool that can be used to evaluate intracranial arteries with high accuracy for moderate to severe stenosis when compared to CT angiography. Moderate agreement was found between TCCS and CT angiography for the evaluation of intracranial stenosis in patients with acute ischemic stroke or TIA.