Thrombolysis in Brain Ischemia (TIBI) Transcranial Doppler Flow Grades Predict Clinical Severity, Early Recovery, and Mortality in Patients Treated With Intravenous Tissue Plasminogen Activator

Document Type


Publication Date



ultrasound, stroke, acute, ultrasonography, Doppler, transcranial, thrombolysis


Background and Purpose—TIMI angiographic classification measures coronary residual flow and recanalization. We developed a Thrombolysis in Brain Ischemia (TIBI) classification by using transcranial Doppler (TCD) to noninvasively monitor intracranial vessel residual flow signals. We examined whether the emergent TCD TIBI classification correlated with stroke severity and outcome in patients treated with intravenously administered tPA (IV-tPA).

Methods—TCD examination occurred acutely and on day 2. TIBI flows were determined at distal MCA and basilar artery depths, depending on occlusion site. TIBI waveforms were graded as follows: 0, absent; 1, minimal; 2, blunted; 3, dampened; 4, stenotic; and 5, normal. National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores were obtained at baseline and 24 hours after administration of tPA.

Results—One hundred nine IV tPA patients were studied. Mean±SD age was 68±16 years; median NIHSS score before administration of tPA (pre-tPA) was 17.5. The tPA bolus was administered 143±58 minutes and the TCD examination 141±57 minutes after symptom onset. Pre-tPA NIHSS scores were higher in patients with TIBI grade 0 than TIBI grade 4 or 5 flow. TIBI flow improvement to grade 4 or 5 occurred in 35% of patients (19/54) with an initial grade of 0 or 1 and in 52% (12/23) with initial grade 2 or 3. The 24-hour NIHSS scores were higher in follow-up in patients with TIBI grade 0 or 1 than those with TIBI grade 4 or 5 flow. TIBI flow recovery correlated with NIHSS score improvement. Lack of flow recovery predicted worsening or no improvement. In-hospital mortality was 71% (5/7) for patients with posterior circulation occlusions; it was 22% (11/51) for patients with pre-tPA TIBI 0 or 1 compared with 5% (1/19) for those with pre-tPA TIBI 2 or 3 anterior circulation occlusions.

Conclusions—Emergent TCD TIBI classification correlates with initial stroke severity, clinical recovery, and mortality in IV-tPA–treated stroke patients. A flow-grade improvement correlated with clinical improvement.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Stroke, v. 32, issue 1, p. 89-93

Was this content written or created while at USF?