Measurement of carotid blood flow in man and its clinical application

S. Uematsu, A. Yang, T. J. Preziosi, R. Kouba, T. J. Toung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the use of a new ultrasonic volume flow meter (VFM), over 8000 measurements of common carotid blood flow were made in 120 normal control subjects and 550 patients with various neurological disease. The accuracy of the flow meter in measuring blood flow on an experimental model ranged from 93 to 97%. In normal subjects, common carotid blood flow varies with age. It increased from newborn to age 20 and gradually decreased thereafter. In normal healthy subjects, the flow varies within +/- 6.7% (2SD) at one sitting (intrasession) and +/- 21.2% (2SD) from week to week (intersession study). Carotid blood flow varies linearly with PaCO2 and increased markedly in response to endotracheal intubation. In healthy adults, the flow ratio between the two common carotid arteries is 1.07 +/- 0.052. This ratio increases in patients with transient ischemic attacks to 1.28 +/- 0.23 (p less than 0.05) and in patients with intracranial space occupying lesions to 1.46 +/- 0.39, (p less than 0.01). In 26 consecutive cases of carotid endarterectomies, the preoperative common carotid blood volume flow was 5.1 +/- 1.0 cc/sec. All cases preoperatively had at least 30% stenosis and ranged from 30 to 100% stenosis. The carotid blood volume was significantly increased post-operatively (p less than 0.001). The overall accuracy in detecting carotid and cerebral arterial disease is 89% with sensitivity of 96% and the specificity of 71%. Our clinical experience indicates that this device is not only a valuable noninvasive diagnostic tool for evaluation of carotid disease but also appears to be useful in assessing cerebral blood flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-266
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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