Correlation of Transcranial Color Doppler to N20 Somatosensory Evoked Potential Detects Ischemic Penumbra in Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Piero Di Pasquale*, 1, Paolo Zanatta2, Ilaria Morghen3, Enrico Bosco2, Elena Forini4
1 Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Department, Rovigo Hospital, Viale 3 Martiri, 140, 45100 Rovigo, Italy
2 Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Department, Treviso Regional Hospital, Viale Vittorio Veneto, 18, 31100 Treviso, Italy
3 Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Department, S. Anna University Hospital, Giovecca 203, 44100 Ferrara, Italy
4 Health Statistics Service, S. Anna University Hospital, Giovecca 203, 44100 Ferrara, Italy

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© Di Pasquale et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Department, Rovigo Hospital, Viale 3 Martiri, 140, 45100 Rovigo, Italy; Tel: +39 0425394224 +39 3356523854; Fax: 0425 394223; E-mail:



Normal subjects present interhemispheric symmetry of middle cerebral artery (MCA) mean flow velocity and N20 cortical somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP). Subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) can modify this pattern, since high regional brain vascular resistances increase blood flow velocity, and impaired regional brain perfusion reduces N20 amplitude. The aim of the study is to investigate the variability of MCA resistances and N20 amplitude between hemispheres in SAH.


Measurements of MCA blood flow velocity (vMCA) by transcranial color-Doppler and median nerve SSEP were bilaterally performed in sixteen patients. MCA vascular changes on the compromised hemisphere were calculated as a ratio of the reciprocal of mean flow velocity (1/vMCA) to contralateral value and correlated to the simultaneous variations of interhemispheric ratio of N20 amplitude, within each subject. Data were analysed with respect to neuroimaging of MCA supplied areas.


Both interhemispheric ratios of 1/vMCA and N20 amplitude were detected >0.65 (p <0,01) in patients without neuroimages of injury. Both ratios became <0.65 (p <0.01) when patients showed unilateral images of ischemic penumbra and returned >0.65 if penumbra disappeared. The two ratios no longer correlated after structural lesion developed, as N20 detected in the damaged side remained pathological (ratio <0.65), whereas 1/vMCA reverted to symmetric interhemispheric state (ratio >0.65), suggesting a luxury perfusion.


Variations of interhemispheric ratios of MCA resistance and cortical N20 amplitude correlate closely in SAH and allow identification of the reversible ischemic penumbra threshold, when both ratios become <0.65. The correlation is lost when structural damage develops.

Keywords: Subarachnoid haemorrhage, ischemic penumbra, cerebral blood flow, brain perfusion, brain vascular resistances, transcranial color-doppler, somatosensory evoked potentials.