Advertisement

How is Doppler ultrasound used to diagnose stroke?

Doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive method that enables doctors to view blood vessels and analyze blood flow in the neck and at the base of the brain. Like sonar in a ship, high-frequency ultrasound waves penetrate the artery in question -- such as the carotid, vertebral, or intracranial artery -- and bounce back to produce an image of the blood vessel and a wave showing intensity of blood flow. Using this image, the doctor can then calculate the velocity of blood flow.

Two Doppler ultrasound techniques are used for diagnosis of stroke. Carotid duplex Doppler scanning makes images of the carotid arteries. Transcranial Doppler scanning analyzes flow in the major intracranial arteries at the base of the brain. These techniques are essential to the stroke neurologist, as they can provide a minute-to-minute assessment of the adequacy of flow in the damaged artery and the availability of collateral flow from other arteries to help bring blood to threatened brain tissue. To put it more simply, Doppler ultrasound is the stroke doctor's stethoscope: it is used at the bedside to judge the effectiveness of targeted therapy to improve blood flow in the brain.

Continue Learning about Stroke Diagnosis & Tests

What laboratory tests are used for stroke diagnosis?
Natalia S. Rost, MDNatalia S. Rost, MD
In stroke diagnosis, you will need blood and urine tests to rule out conditions that sometimes produ...
More Answers
What can I expect during a stroke evaluation?
Natalia S. Rost, MDNatalia S. Rost, MD
During the initial stroke evaluation, the single most important piece of information a physician wil...
More Answers
What is cerebral angiography?
Dr. Muhammad A. Taqi, MDDr. Muhammad A. Taqi, MD
A cerebral angiogram is the picture of blood vessels in your brain required for surgery following a ...
More Answers
How is computed tomography (CT) used for stroke diagnosis?
Natalia S. Rost, MDNatalia S. Rost, MD
Today most people who suffer a stroke will have a computed tomography (CT) scan. CT, sometimes calle...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.