Duplex ultrasound criteria for the identification of carotid stenosis should be laboratory specific

Karen M. Kuntz, Joseph F. Polak, Anthony D. Whittemore, John J. Skillman, K. Craig Kent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Published criteria for the determination of carotid stenosis have been widely applied by vascular laboratories. We compared two vascular laboratories and their duplex ultrasound (DU) machines in terms of their overall diagnostic performance and the optimal criteria to identify patients who have a 70% to 99% stenosis of the internal carotid artery. Methods: Measurements of stenosis by DU and angiography were compared for 123 carotid arteries (60 arteries, laboratory A; 63 arteries, laboratory B). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were created, and the areas under the ROC curves and the optimal criteria for determining a 70% to 99% stenosis were compared. Multiple regression analysis was used to measure the effect of laboratory on the relationship between angiographic stenosis and DU velocity parameters. Results: Areas under the ROC curves were similar for both laboratories (0.89 to 0.90, laboratory A; 0.90 to 0.92, laboratory B). However, the optimal criterion for the identification of a 70% to 99% carotid stenosis was different for each laboratory. For most velocity parameters, based on regression analyses, the predicted percent angiographic stenosis for laboratory A was significantly greater than that for laboratory B. In addition, performance differed between the laboratories when established criteria from the literature were applied. Conclusions: Two vascular laboratories with similar diagnostic accuracy by ROC analysis have markedly different 'optimal' DU criteria. For a given angiographic stenosis, velocities in one laboratory were consistently greater than those in the other laboratory. Laboratory-specific criteria rather than published criteria should be used to identify patients with internal carotid artery stenoses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-602
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • carotid stenosis
  • diagnosis
  • ultrasonics


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