Published online Feb 28, 2015. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v7.i2.52
Peer-review started: October 15, 2014
First decision: December 17, 2014
Revised: December 25, 2014
Accepted: January 18, 2015
Article in press: January 20, 2015
Published online: February 28, 2015
AIM: To compare time average maximum mean velocity (TAMV) and peak systolic velocity (PSV) criteria of Trans Cranial Doppler (TCD) in their ability to predict abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) in patients with sickle cell disease.
METHODS: A retrospective evaluation was performed of the outcomes in all patients with a Transcranial Doppler examination at our institution since the implementation of the hospital picture archiving and communication system (PACS) system in January 2003 through December 2012. All ultrasound imaging exams were performed by the same technologist with a 3 MHz transducer. Inclusion criteria was based upon the Transcranial Doppler procedure code in our PACS which had an indication of sickle cell disease in the history. The patient’s age and gender along with the vessel with the highest time averaged mean velocity as well as the highest peak systolic velocity was recorded for analysis. A subset of the study cohort also had subsequent MR imaging and Angiograms performed within 6 mo of the TCD examination. MRI results were categorized as having a disease related abnormality (vessel narrowing, collateral formation/moya-moya, or abnormal fluid attenuation inversion recovery signal in parenchyma indicative of prior stroke) or normal. The MRI results formed the comparison standards for TCD exams in evaluating intracranial injury. Sensitivity and specificity for the two TCD criteria (TAMV and PSV) were calculated to determine which could be a better predictor for intracranial vasculopathy /clinically occult strokes.
RESULTS: The study cohort for our institution was 110 patients with a total of 291 TCD examinations. These patients had a mean age of 7.6 years with a range from 2-18 years of age. Sixty-two of the 110 patients (56%) had two or more TCD exams. Thirty-seven patients (34%) had at least one MRI following a TCD examination. Of the 291 TCD examinations, 46 (16%) were conditional or abnormal by TAMV criteria. One hundred and sixteen (40%) were conditional or abnormal by PSV criteria. All studies that were abnormal by TAMV were also abnormal by PSV criteria. Seventy of the 116 (60%) studies which were conditional or abnormal by peak systolic criteria would not have been identified by time averaged mean maximum velocity criteria. The most frequent location of highest velocity measurement was noted to be in the middle cerebral artery regardless of whether it was measured by PSV or TAMV. From the 37 patients having one or more MRIs, 43 MRI exams were performed within 6 mo of a TCD examination. Twenty two (51%) MRIs had a disease related abnormality reported. When evaluating conditional or abnormal exams by PSV criteria against follow-up MRI/MRA, the sensitivity was 73% [16/(16 + 6)] and specificity was 81% [17/(4 + 17)]. When evaluating conditional or abnormal exams by TAMV criteria by follow-up MRI/MRA as the gold standard, the sensitivity was 41% [9/(9 + 13)] and the specificity was 100% [21/(21 + 0)]. In using conditional or abnormal criteria from PSV and TAMV to predict abnormalities on follow-up MRI/MR Angiogram, PSV was more sensitive (73% vs 41%) while TAMV was more specific (100% vs 81%).
CONCLUSION: Based on the data obtained at our institution and using the assumption that the best screening test is the one with the highest sensitivity, the peak systolic velocity could be the measurement of choice for TCD screening.
Core tip: To the best of our knowledge, there has been no direct comparison between peak systolic velocity and time average maximum mean velocity in their ability to predict abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/magnetic resonance angiogram in children with sickle cell disease. With the growing clinical use of MR Angiography to assess sickle cell patients, the sensitivity of Trans Cranial Doppler (TCD) should be maximized if it is to maintain its role as a screening test in the sickle cell population. Based on the data obtained at our institution and using the assumption that the best screening test is the one with the highest sensitivity, the peak systolic velocity could be the measurement of choice for TCD screening.