Severe stroke leads to subsequent cerebral oedema. Patients with severe stroke develop midline shift (MLS) which can be measured by transcranial duplex sonography (TCD). We measured MLS with TCD in 30 patients with large infarction in the territory of the middle cerebral artery (MCA). All of the examined patients had intracranial pressure (ICP) measure devices and the ICP at the time of the TCD was recorded. MLS was also determined on CT scan on day 4. Ten of the 30 patients were treated with hypothermia. We also determined matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) in serum by zymography. MLS measured by TCD correlated significantly with MLS on CT. In addition there was a strong correlation between the ICP measured at the time of TCD and MLS. In patients treated with hypothermia MLS was less pronounced. MMP9 and MMP2 showed a characteristic time course and had strong associations with MLS. We confirm earlier reports that TCD is a reliable noninvasive method for serially monitoring patients with intracranial lesions. Hypothermia reduces MMP9 activity as well as MLS. TCD may reduce the need for repetitive CT scans in neurological critically ill patients.