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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Panminerva Medica 2013 March;55(1):29-41

language: English

Role of perfusion imaging in acute stroke

Sillanpää N.

Medical Imaging Center, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland


Imaging has a central role in the diagnosis and classification of acute stroke, the triage of patients to different treatment approaches and the prediction of the clinical outcome and the risk of hemorrhagic complications. A multimodal imaging protocol that includes a perfusion study allows diagnostics beyond anatomical findings by enabling the characterization of the ischemic brain tissue and the cerebral hemodynamic state. This information potentially leads to more accurate clinical decision making with the intention to select the right patients for different revascularization therapies regardless of fixed time windows. Perfusion imaging enables the detection and quantification of the irreversibly damaged infarct core and the at-risk penumbra. Parameters derived from perfusion studies can serve as surrogate markers for stroke severity and are independent predictors of the clinical outcome and the occurrence of hemorrhagic complications. The validation and standardization of the perfusion methodology is still ongoing. Currently there is emerging but no high level evidence that perfusion imaging improves the clinical outcome or has a direct impact on the decision to treat the patient with intravenous thrombolytic therapy or intra-arterial interventions. Thus, definite guidelines on the role of the perfusion imaging in the context of acute stroke cannot yet be given.

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