Modern imaging of the infarct core and the ischemic penumbra in acute stroke patients: CT versus MRI

Carlos J Ledezma, Jochen B Fiebach, Max Wintermark
Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 2009, 7 (4): 395-403
Thrombolysis has become an approved therapy for acute stroke. However, many stroke patients do not benefit from such treatment, since the presently used criteria are very restrictive, notably with respect to the accepted time window. Even so, a significant rate of intracranial hemorrhage still occurs. Conventional cerebral computed tomography (CT) without contrast has been proposed as a selection tool for acute stroke patients. However, more-modern MRI and CT techniques, referred to as diffusion- and perfusion-weighted imaging and perfusion-CT, have been introduced, which afford a comprehensive noninvasive survey of acute stroke patients as soon as their emergency admission, with accurate demonstration of the site of arterial occlusion and its hemodynamic and pathophysiological repercussions for the brain parenchyma. The objective of this article is to present the advantages and drawbacks of CT and MRI in the evaluation of acute stroke patients.

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