Background and Purpose - The purpose of this work was to review and compare published data on the diagnostic value of duplex ultrasonography (DUS), MR angiography (MRA), and conventional digital subtraction angiography (DSA) for the diagnosis of carotid artery stenosis. Methods - We performed a systematic review of published studies retrieved through PUBMED, from bibliographies of review papers, and from experts. The English-language medical literature was searched for studies that met the selection criteria: (1) The study was published between 1994 and 2001; (2) MRA and/or DUS was performed to estimate the severity of carotid artery stenosis; (3) DSA was used as the standard of reference; and (4) the absolute numbers of true positives, false negatives, true negatives, and false positives were available or derivable for at least one definition of disease (degree of stenosis). Results - Sixty-three publications on duplex, MRA, or both were included in the analysis, yielding the test results of 64 different patient series on DUS and 21 on MRA. For the diagnosis of 70% to 99% versus <70% stenosis, MRA had a pooled sensitivity of 95% (95% CI, 92 to 97) and a pooled specificity of 90% (95% CI, 86 to 93). These numbers were 86% (95% CI, 84 to 89) and 87% (95% CI, 84 to 90) for DUS, respectively. For recognizing occlusion, MRA yielded a sensitivity of 98% (95% CI, 94 to 100) and a specificity of 100% (95% CI, 99 to 100), and DUS had a sensitivity of 96% (95% CI, 94 to 98) and a specificity of 100% (95% CI, 99 to 100). A multivariable summary receiver-operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis for diagnosing 70% to 99% stenosis demonstrated that the type of MR scanner predicted the performance of MRA, whereas the presence of verification bias predicted the performance of DUS. For diagnosing occlusion, no significant heterogeneity was found for MRA; for DUS, the presence of verification bias and type of DUS scanner were explanatory variables. MRA had a significantly better discriminatory power than DUS in diagnosing 70% to 99% stenosis (regression coefficient, 1.6; 95% CI, 0.37 to 2.77). No significant difference was found in detecting occlusion (regression coefficient, 0.73; 95% CI, -2.06 to 3.51). Conclusions - These results suggest that MRA has a better discriminatory power compared with DUS in diagnosing 70% to 99% stenosis and is a sensitive and specific test compared with DSA in the evaluation of carotid artery stenosis. For detecting occlusion, both DUS and MRA are very accurate.

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Department of Radiology

Nederkoorn, P., van der Graaf, Y., & Hunink, M. (2003). Duplex ultrasound and magnetic resonance angiography compared with digital subtraction angiography in carotid artery stenosis: A systematic review. Stroke (Vol. 34, pp. 1324–1331). doi:10.1161/01.STR.0000068367.08991.A2