This effective technique of examining cerebral vessels (brachiocephalic arteries) includes transcranial duplex ultrasonography scanning.
INDICATIONS TO CEREBRAL VESSEL ULTRASONOGRAPHY
Cerebral blood supply insufficiency may be evidenced by a number of symptoms, such as: headache, dizziness, faintness, memory impairment, vision impairment (including the sensations of pressure on the eyeballs, dark spots, ringing or buzzing in the ears, diminished hearing, frequent numbness in the limbs, changes in limb sensitivity or activity, feeling of heaviness of various parts of the body (at the temples, at the back of the head, at the forehead), increased blood pressure, impairment of movement coordination, cramps, previous cranium and brain injuries and cardiophyshoneurosis.
THE PROCEDURE OF CEREBRAL VESSEL ULTRASONOGRAPHY
Cerebral blood vessels are classified as extracranial and intracranial subsystems.
The extracranial subsystem of cerebral arteries is located at the neck; it supplies blood to the brain and terminates at the entry to the skull. Ultrasonic examination of brachiocephalic arteries (BAU) is used to diagnose atherosclerosis and monitor its development, to detect abnormal structure of vertebral arteries and carotid arteries (e.g., identification of extracranial vessel tortuosity and assessment of its local importance for blood flow; identification of vertebral artery hypoplasia, etc.). BAU may be performed as an independent screening method at any time by appointment.
The intracranial subsystem of the brain is located inside the skull; it is examined using an ultrasonic probe placed at two locations: at the temporal bone (the so-called temporal window) and at the area between the skull and the spinal cord (the cervical window). In other words, the examination is transcranial. That is why the procedure is called transcranial duplex ultrasonographic scanning of cerebral vessels. At this level, blood flow of cerebral vessels is evaluated within the area accessible for visualization. This examination includes assessment of the blood flow rate and vascular tone with the use of a pulse Doppler scanning and color flow Doppler mapping (color Doppler sonography). Based on the gathered data, special indexes are estimated, and the ultrasonography specialist makes a conclusion on whether there is any pathology and compiles a report. The technique makes it possible to evaluate the hemodynamic significance of the revealed changes at the extractranial level (e.g., the systemic effect of atheromatous plaques and artery tortuosity), reveal or make an assumption on the presence of anomalies of intracranial vessel structure, evaluate the particularities of vascular tone regulation and indications of an intracraial venous hypertension, which enables the consulting physician to plan subsequent therapy or order further diagnostic investigation.
If it is required to perform a transcranial examination of cerebral vessels, this should be accompanied by brachiocephalic artery ultrasonography, that is, the examinations should be performed successively during the same day since abnormal changes of extracranial vessels often have a significant effect on the blood flow characteristics of transcranial vessels.
Why is this so? Blood flow rates and vascular tone depend on the systemic arterial pressure, the patient's psychoemotional state and other factors. Sequential studies of extracranial and intracranial vessels make it possible to differentiate systemic blood flow changes caused by the above reasons from local changes of blood flow at the intracrainal level. Besides that, some indexes are estimated during the study on the basis of the correlation between the intracranial and extrcranial vessels of the brain. Due to this reason, even in the case that BAU has already been performed previously, the ultrasonic diagnostics specialist would have to perform a repeated examination of brachiocephalic arteries.
There are no absolute contraindications to cerebral vessel ultrasonography.
PREPARING FOR CEREBRAL VESSEL ULTRASONOGRAPHY
- Do not drink alcohol the day before the examination;
- Do not drink coffee or tea on the day of the procedure;
- Refrain from smoking 2 hours before the examination;
- If you regularly take any cardiac or vascular drugs, consult your physician to find out whether you would need to suspend their administration for some time before the examination;
- Refrain from eating before the test if possible;
- Please bring the information on previous brachicephalic artery examinations.
HOW CAN I GET CEREBRAL VESSEL ULTRASONOGRAPHY AT THE RCMC
To be eligible for the examination, the patient must have a physician’s referral
- Please call the Contact Center and book an appointment for the examination
- You need to complete and sign a paid service contract at the Reception (present a physician's referral to the receptionist)
- Pay the bill at the RCMC pay office, or through the ERIP electronic system
- Get the examination at the appointed time.