Functional transcranial doppler ultrasound for monitoring cerebral blood flow

Benjamin D. Hage, Edward J. Truemper, Gregory R. Bashford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Functional transcranial Doppler ultrasound (fTCD) is the use of transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD) to study neural activation occurring during stimuli such as physical movement, activation of tactile sensors in the skin, and viewing images. Neural activation is inferred from an increase in the cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) supplying the region of the brain involved in processing sensory input. For example, viewing bright light causes increased neural activity in the occipital lobe of the cerebral cortex, leading to increased blood flow in the posterior cerebral artery, which supplies the occipital lobe. In fTCD, changes in CBFV are used to estimate changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF). With its high temporal resolution measurement of blood flow velocities in the major cerebral arteries, fTCD complements other established functional imaging techniques. The goal of this Methods paper is to give step-by-step instructions for using fTCD to perform a functional imaging experiment. First, the basic steps for identifying the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and optimizing the signal will be described. Next, placement of a fixation device for holding the TCD probe in place during the experiment will be described. Finally, the breath-holding experiment, which is a specific example of a functional imaging experiment using fTCD, will be demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere62048
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number169
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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