Comparison of transcranial color-coded sonography and magnetic resonance angiography in acute ischemic stroke

Li Ming Lien, Wei Hung Chen, Jiunn Rong Chen, Hou Chang Chiu, Yuh Feng Tsai, Wai Man Choi, Patrick S. Reynolds, Charles H. Tegeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose. This study was designed to assess the accuracy of transcranial color-coded sonography (TCCS) as compared to magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) for detecting intracranial arterial stenosis in patients with acute cerebral ischemia. Methods. The authors prospectively identified 120 consecutive patients admitted with acute ischemic stroke and performed both TCCS and MRA with a mean interval of 1 day. TCCS data (sampling depth, peak systolic and end diastolic angle-corrected velocity, mean angle-corrected velocity, and pulsatility index) for middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) were compared to MRA data and classified into 4 grades: normal (grade 1): normal caliber and signal; mild stenosis (grade 2): irregular lumen with reduced signal; severe stenosis (grade 3); absent signal in the stenotic segment (flow gap) and reconstituted distal signal; and possible occlusion (grade 4): absent signal. The cutoffs were chosen to maximize diagnostic accuracy. Results. Interobserver agreement for MRA grading resulted in a weighted-kappa value of 0.776. The rate of poor temporal window was 37% (89/240). Doppler signals were obtained in 135 vessels, and the angle-corrected velocities (peak systolic, end diastolic, mean) were significantly different (P=.001, P=.006, and P<.001) among the MRA grades: grade 1 (100, 47, 68 cm/s), grade 2 (171, 72, 110 cm/s), grade 3 (226, 79, 134 cm/s), grade 4 (61, 26, 39 cm/s). Additionally, an angle-corrected MCA peak systolic velocity ≥120 cm/s correlates with intracranial stenosis on MRA (grade 2 or worse) with high specificity (90.5%; 95% confidence interval=78.5%∼96.8%) and positive predictive value (93.9%) but relatively low sensitivity (66.7%; 95% confidence interval=61.2%∼69.5%) and negative predictive value (55.1%). Conclusion. Elevated MCA velocities on TCCS correlate with intracranial stenosis detected on MRA. An angle-corrected peak systolic velocity ≥120 cm/s is highly specific for detecting intracranial stenosis as defined by significant MRA abnormality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute ischemic stroke
  • Magnetic resonance angiography
  • Transcranial color-coded sonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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