A Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound, also known as TCD, is a diagnostic test that uses ultrasound waves to evaluate blood flow in the brain. The test is useful in detecting various conditions that affect blood flow in the brain, such as stroke caused by blood clots, narrowed sections of blood vessels, vasospasm resulting from a subarachnoid hemorrhage, and tiny blood clots, among others. The procedure is non-invasive, safe, and does not involve any radiation exposure, making it an effective tool for diagnosing brain-related conditions.
Preparing for a Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound (TCD) is relatively easy and requires no special preparation. However, you should avoid consuming caffeine and smoking for at least two hours before the test, as both can cause temporary changes in blood flow that may affect the results of the test. You should also avoid wearing any jewelry or accessories around your neck, as this may interfere with the ultrasound waves. It’s also recommended that you wear comfortable clothing that allows easy access to your head and neck area. If you are taking any medications, be sure to inform your healthcare provider before the test.
Transcranial Doppler ultrasound is a diagnostic tool used to assess blood flow in the brain and is useful in diagnosing or monitoring several medical conditions, including:
During a Transcranial Doppler test, a specially trained technologist will perform the procedure while a board-certified radiologist or neurologist will interpret the results. You will lie on a padded exam table while a small amount of water-soluble gel is applied to the skin over the blood vessel sites that supply the brain. The technologist will then use a small microphone-like device called a transducer to send high-frequency sound waves through your brain to capture returning blood flow information. The ultrasound signal is turned into graphs or color pictures that are shown on the display screen. The test is painless and lasts about 30 minutes. After the test, the gel will be wiped off your skin. It is important to keep your head still and avoid talking during the test.
Following a Transcranial Ultrasound, your healthcare provider will discuss your test results with you. Depending on the findings, your provider may recommend additional follow-up tests, such as 3D imaging, or refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist, for further evaluation and treatment. It is important to follow any recommendations provided by your healthcare provider to ensure the best possible outcomes for your health.
Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound is a safe and non-invasive procedure with minimal risks. The risks associated with this test are rare and may include mild discomfort during the test, skin irritation from the gel, or dizziness. In some cases, the test may produce false positive or false negative results, leading to unnecessary further testing or missed diagnosis. It’s important to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
Other related tests to a Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound include: