Innominate artery occlusive disease: Sonographic findings

Edward G. Grant, Suzie M. El-Saden, Beatrice L. Madrazo, J. Dennis Baker, Mark A. Kliewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The objective of this study was to report the sonographic abnormalities in a group of patients with angiographically proven innominate artery stenosis and occlusion. MATERIALS AND METHODS. A review of all cerebrovascular sonograms at our institutions was undertaken to identify patients with complete or partial flow reversal in the right vertebral artery and reversal or midsystolic deceleration of flow in any one of the three major segments of the right carotid system (common, internal, or external carotid artery). The distribution and appearance of these abnormalities was evaluated, and the presence or absence of tardus-parvus waveforms was noted in any segment of the right carotid artery. Additionally, a left to right common carotid peak systolic velocity ratio (LCCA/RCCA) was calculated and compared to published normal values. All patients had correlative contrast or MR angiography. Correlation was made between the severity of stenosis as determined by angiographic images and waveform aberrations as well as the more objective LCCA/RCCA ratios. RESULTS. Twelve patients were identified as having the abnormalities described above in the right vertebral and carotid arteries. Doppler waveforms from the right vertebral artery revealed that eight of the 12 patients had complete reversal of flow at rest. Bidirectional flow was found in the remaining four as manifested by the presence of marked midsystolic deceleration. In the carotid arteries, one patient had complete reversal of flow in all segments of the right carotid system. Waveforms with midsystolic deceleration were identified in at least one of the carotid arteries of the remaining 11 patients: common carotid artery (8/11 = 73%), internal carotid artery (10/11 = 91%), external carotid artery (3/11 = 27%). The average LCCA/RCCA was 3.1 with a range of 1.7 to 5.7 (normal = 0.7-1.3). All patients had severe innominate artery disease (from 70% to occlusion) by contrast angiography or MR angiography. There was no correlation between the angiographically determined degree of stenosis and the Doppler findings. CONCLUSION. A distinctive pattern of hemodynamic alterations occurs in the right vertebral and carotid arteries of patients with severe innominate artery disease. Findings include reversed or bidirectional flow in the right vertebral artery, the presence of midsystolic deceleration in any of the branches of the right carotid system, and elevated LCCA/RCCA ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-400
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Angiography
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Doppler sonography
  • Innominate artery
  • Subclavian steal syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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