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Doppler ultrasound (DUS) is used as a screening tool to assess internal carotid artery (ICA) disease. Recent reports suggest that the DUS may be inaccurate in over 28% of patients. We sought to evaluate the accuracy of DUS, when performed in a dedicated stroke prevention clinic (SPC).
We retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients who had a DUS performed in our SPC, followed by conventional cerebral angiography. Three groups of patients were defined. Group 1 had DUS measured ICA stenosis of >50%; Group II had a DUS measured ICA stenosis of <50%; Group III had complete ICA occlusion on DUS.
Sixty-seven patients (69 arteries) were included in the study. There were 45 patients in Group I and based on the findings of cerebral angiography, carotid endarterectomy was considered inappropriate in only one patient. - a misclassification rate of 2.2% (95%CI: 0 – 6.5%). Group II consisted of 19 patients and on cerebral angiography, none of these patients had a stenosis of >50% - a misclassification rate of 0%. Group III consisted of five patients in whom DUS showed complete ICA occlusion. The angiogram confirmed the occlusion in all five patients – a misclassification rate of 0%. Overall, misclassification rate was 1.45% (95% CI: 0 - 4.3%).
Doppler ultrasound when performed in a stroke prevention clinic (SPC), has a high accuracy in measuring ICA stenosis of >50%. Doppler ultrasound is reliable in detecting complete ICA occlusion and finally DUS is a reliable screening tool to rule out clinically significant ICA stenosis.
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