A comparison of Power Doppler with conventional sonographic imaging for the evaluation of renal artery stenosis.
Manganaro A., Ando' G., Salvo A., Consolo A., Coppolino F., Giannino D.
BACKGROUND: Power Doppler (PD) has improved diagnostic capabilities of vascular sonography, mainly because it is independent from the angle of insonation. We evaluated this technique in a prospective comparison with conventional imaging, consisting in Duplex and Color Doppler, for the evaluation of Renal Artery (RA) stenosis. METHODS: Sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of PD and conventional imaging were assessed in a blinded fashion on eighteen patients, 9 with angiographic evidence of unilateral RA stenosis (hypertensive patients) and 9 with angiographically normal arteries (control group). PD images were interpreted with an angiography-like criteria. RESULTS: In the control group both techniques allowed correct visualization of 16 out of the 18 normal arteries (93% specificity). Only in five hypertensive patients RA stenosis was correctly identified with conventional technique (56% sensitivity and 86% negative predictive value); PD was successful in all hypertensive patients (100% sensitivity and negative predictive value), since the operators could obtain in each case of RA stenosis a sharp color signal of the whole vessel with a clear "minus" at the point of narrowing of the lumen. All results were statistically significant (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that PD is superior to conventional imaging, in terms of sensitivity and specificity, for the diagnosis of RA stenosis, because it allows a clear visualization of the whole stenotic vascular lumen. Especially if it is used in concert with the other sonographic techniques, PD can enable a more accurate imaging of renovascular disease with results that seem comparable to selective angiography.