Speckle Tracking in Transcranial Ultrasound Allows Noninvasive Analysis of Pulsation Patterns of the Third Ventricle

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Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow is sensitive to many cerebral disorders. We aimed to develop a noninvasive bedside method to detect physiological and pathological CSF phenomena by measuring pulsation patterns of the third ventricle. By transcranial B-mode ultrasound, electrocardiography (ECG)-gated video loops of the third ventricle were acquired. “Speckle tracking” software was used to quantify the relative change of its width. We conducted measurements of nine cardiac cycles in 11 healthy subjects in sitting and in supine position during Valsalva maneuver to investigate the influence of an increased intracranial pressure on the relative deformation of the third ventricle. In one patient with occlusive hydrocephalus, 19 cardiac cycles were measured in sitting position before and after removal of a tumorous obstruction of the aqueduct of Sylvius. Healthy subjects expressed a pulse-related increased width of the third ventricle ( : +5.69, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [4.38, 7.00]). No significant difference was found between the sitting and the supine position in healthy adults. In the preoperative state of occlusive hydrocephalus, we found a negative, pulse-related deformation ( : −1.86, 95% CI = [−2.15, −1.58]) with delayed onset. After surgery, the deformation pattern resembled that of our healthy controls. The difference between pre- and postoperative condition was significant (p < 0.001). Transcranial B-mode sonography can be used to record small movements of the sidewalls of the third ventricle. This noninvasive bedside method is suitable to assess CSF pulsatility within the third ventricle and might be able to distinguish between physiological and pathological flows.

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