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Transcranial Doppler Findings of Cerebral Vasospasm in Preeclampsia


Hansen, Wendy; Burnham, Steven J.; Svendsen, T. O.; Katz, Vern L.; Thorp, John M., Jr.; & Hansen, Alfred R. (1996). Transcranial Doppler Findings of Cerebral Vasospasm in Preeclampsia. Journal of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, 5(4), 194-200.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of preeclampsia and its severity on maternal mean middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity (mean MCA-CBFV) using transcranial doppler sonography (TCD), as well as the effect of magnesium on mean MCA-CBFV in preeclampsia. This study used a prospective, comparative design. TCD was used to examine maternal mean MCA-CBFV in both healthy subjects (controls) and preeclamptic subjects (cases). The two groups were similar in age, gestational age, and parity. Healthy subjects were categorized into three groups: Group I, 6-14 weeks, n = 10; Group II, 24-40 weeks, n = 27; Group III, postpartum n = 15, 12-36 h. Serial TCD examinations of the middle cerebral artery were completed in 21 preeclamptic subjects at four different points in time: Time I is an initial measurement before delivery; Time 2 is also before delivery but after magnesium had been administered. Time 3 is postpartum while on magnesium (12-24 h), Time 4 is postpartum off magnesium, (24-48 h). Preeclamptic subjects had significantly increased mean MCA-CBFV when compared to healthy subjects: antepartum (mean 78.2 vs. 55.1 cm/sec, P < 0.0005); postpartum (mean 101.3 vs. 69.8 cm/sec, P < 0.0001). Severe preeclamptics had significantly higher mean MCA-CBFV than mild preeclamptics at each point in time: Time 1: P < 0.016; Time 2: P < 0.040; Time 3: P < 0.002; and Time 4: P < 0.028. These data support the theory that cerebral vasospasm of the smaller diameter vessels is a major component of preeclampsia.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Maternal-Fetal Medicine


Hansen, Wendy
Burnham, Steven J.
Svendsen, T. O.
Katz, Vern L.
Thorp, John M., Jr.
Hansen, Alfred R.