Perivascular color artifact: pathologic significance and appearance on color Doppler US images

W. D. Middleton, S. Erickson, G. L. Melson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


A distinctive type of artifactual extravascular assignment of color was identified in 49 color Doppler ultrasound (US) examinations in 43 patients. This artifact appeared as a random localized mixture of red and blue assigned to perivascular soft tissues; the artifact varied with the cardiac cycle, being most prominent in systole and absent or less prominent in diastole. The artifact was seen in 26 patients (32 examinations) at an anastomotic site or stenotic lesion associated with surgically created arteriovenous fistulas for hemodialysis. It was also observed in ten patients with accidental iatrogenic arteriovenous fistulas (renal transplant [n = 6], femoral artery [n = 3], and iliac artery [n = 1]), five with stenotic arteries not associated with arteriovenous fistulas, and two with arterial aneurysms. The authors believe this artifact reflects perivascular tissue vibration caused by turbulent intravascular blood flow. If properly recognized and accurately interpreted, the artifact can be a valuable color Doppler US sign of underlying vascular abnormality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-652
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


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