Objectives: Our aim was to evaluate the effect of clinical varicocele on testicular microcirculation measured by spectral Doppler analysis and investigate the correlation between Doppler ultrasonographic findings and semen parameters.
Methods: Fifty patients who received a diagnosis of clinical varicocele in the Urology Department of our university hospital were enrolled in this prospective study. Varicocele grades were determined according to sonographic parameters, and a scrotal vein with a diameter of 2.5 mm or greater on color Doppler ultrasonography was included in the study. Spectral Doppler measurements of testicular arteries (peak systolic [PSV]/end-diastolic velocity [EDV], resistivity index [RI], pulsatility index [PI]) were measured from capsular and intratesticular branches of testicular arteries. All the patients were also assessed by semen analysis.
Results: Mean age was 29.08 ± 5.42 years (range, 18–45 years). Among the whole study population, 22 men had isolated left varicocele, and 28 had bilateral varicoceles. No statistically significant correlation was found between the Doppler parameters: RI, PI, and EDV, and semen analysis parameters: count, motility, volume, and morphology. On the other hand, both in unilateral and bilateral varicocele cases, PSV was found to be significantly correlated with sperm count (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Spectral Doppler analysis can provide valuable information as a noninvasive method to assess the hemodynamic changes and testicular microcirculation status in cases of clinical varicocele. However, RI, PI, and EDV values of capsular and intraparenchymal branches of testicular arteries may not be used as indicators of semen parameter deterioration. Hopefully, PSV measurement may give more conclusive data to predict sperm count. In addition, the cutoff value for this index has to be determined for future studies.
Departments of *Radiology and †Urology, School of Medicine, Bulent Ecevit University, Zonguldak; ‡Department of Radiology, Acıbadem Kocaeli Hospital, Kocaeli, Turkey.
Received for publication May 16, 2013; accepted September 24, 2013.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Reprints: Özlem Tokgöz, MD, ZKÜ Tıp Fakültesi Hastanesi, S-Blok 1. kat, Radyoloji ABD Zonguldak, Turkey (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).