Background: The brain collateral blood supply, which is essential in patients suffering from significant stenoses or occlusions of the extracranial arteries, remains difficult to assess accurately in practice. We compared data obtained from transcranial color-coded duplex sonography (TCCD) combined with carotid compression tests to morphometric autopsy data and to results given by a mathematical model of the cerebral macrocirculation. Methods and results: In 16 moribund patients, anterior and posterior communicating arteries of the circle of Willis were divided into functional and non-functional based on the results of the TCCD combined with carotid compression tests. After death of the patients diameters and lengths of the main intracranial arteries were measured at autopsy and these values were treated with a mathematical model for calculating blood flow and blood pressure in all the segments of the arterial network. The diameters and the blood flows through the communicating arteries were found to be significantly higher in the group of functional arteries than in that of non-functional ones. However, blood flow was also shown to be dependent on other parameters such as the pressure difference between the two ends of the vessel. Conclusion: Our data indicate that functional ability of the Willisian collaterals depends on morphological and functional parameters, and is therefore better assessed by a functional method, such as TCCD, than by a solely morphological one, such as cerebral angiography. Mathematically based circulation modeling, when it will be possible, could be a more comprehensive tool for delineating patients at a higher risk for hemodynamic cerebrovascular insufficiency.
- Circle of Willis
- Transcranial color-coded duplex sonography
- collateral capacity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology