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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 382361, 7 pages
Review Article

Microembolus Detection by Transcranial Doppler Sonography: Review of the Literature

Department of Neurology, University Hospital Center “Sestre milosrdnice,” 10000, Zagreb, Croatia

Received 1 August 2011; Accepted 17 October 2011

Academic Editor: Arijana Lovrencic-Huzjan

Copyright © 2012 Vlasta Vuković-Cvetković. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Transcranial Doppler can detect microembolic signals which are characterized by unidirectional high intensity increase, short duration, random occurrence, and a “whistling” sound. Microembolic signals have been detected in a number of clinical settings: carotid artery stenosis, aortic arch plaques, atrial fibrillation, myocardial infarction, prosthetic heart valves, patent foramen ovale, valvular stenosis, during invasive procedures (angiography, percutaneous transluminal angioplasty), surgery (carotid, cardiopulmonary bypass, orthopedic), and in certain systemic diseases. Microembolic signals are frequent in large artery disease, less commonly detected in cardioembolic stroke, and infrequent in lacunar stroke. This article provides an overview about the current state of technical and clinical aspects of microembolus detection.