PURPOSE - To evaluate flow velocity measurements in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and/or neurologic examination for detection of cerebral infarction in sickle cell disease (SCD).
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Twenty-four pediatric patients aged 6 1/2-17 years with SCD underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, MR angiography, neurologic examination, and transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (US). Transcranial Doppler studies were evaluated for maximum flow velocity in the right and left MCAs. Combinations of cut-off values were used to determine the sensitivity and specificity of transcranial Doppler US for detection of infarction.
RESULTS - Neurologic examination had 58% sensitivity and 92% specificity for cerebral infarction. Maximal flow velocity > 200 cm/sec or < 100 cm/sec (including no flow) helped identify nine of 12 patients with infarcts proved at MR imaging, with only one false-positive result (sensitivity, 75%; specificity 92%). The combination of neurologic examination and transcranial Doppler US produced 92% sensitivity and 83% specificity for cerebral infarction.
CONCLUSION - The combination of transcranial Doppler US and neurologic examination has potential as a screening technique for infarction in SCD.