Carotid artery occlusion: Positive predictive value of duplex sonography compared with arteriography

Jonathan D. Kirsch, Louis R. Wagner, E. Meredith James, J. William Charboneau, Douglas A. Nichols, Fredric B. Meyer, John W. Hallett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: Duplex ultrasonography is an accurate, noninvasive method for diagnosing, characterizing, and classifying atherosclerotic stenoses of the extracranial carotid artery system. To date, however, no large series has studied the predictive value of duplex sonography in the diagnosis of carotid artery occlusion, an important consideration, given the marked difference in clinical treatment between patients with high-grade stenosis (surgical therapy) and those with occlusive disease (nonsurgical therapy). Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 158 patients with 174 occluded carotid artery segments (examined over a 6 ½-year period) to determine the predictive value of duplex sonography in differentiating carotid artery occlusion from high-grade stenosis. Results: All patients had arteriographic correlation. Duplex ultrasonography had a positive predictive value of 92.5% (7.5% false-positive rate; 95% confidence interval, 3.6% to 11.4%) in establishing a diagnosis of carotid artery occlusion. Further analysis revealed no significant improvement in the false-positive rate with the addition of color Doppler flow imaging to high-resolution B-mode scanning and pulsed Doppler spectral analysis. Predictive value increased to 96.7% (95% confidence interval, 90.7% to 99.3%) over the last 2 years of the study, a statistically significant improvement. Conclusions: We believe that duplex ultrasonography is an acceptably accurate method for diagnosing carotid arterial occlusion in most patients. Arteriography should be reserved for patients with symptoms who are surgical candidates to identify those who may still have a surgically correctable high-grade stenosis. (J VASC SURG 1994;19:642-9.)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-649
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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