We examined the metabolic and hemodynamic status of patients with severe carotid stenosis and evaluated the effectiveness of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) by comparing pre- and post-operative results of quantitative proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Quantitative 1H-MRS and SPECT were performed in 17 patients with severe carotid stenosis before CEA; in 10 patients the examinations were repeated after CEA. There was a significant correlation between the degree of internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis and the N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) concentration, and between CBFand NAA in the basal ganglia. In 10 of the 17 patients (58.8%) we noted a decrease of NAA on 1H-MRS. After CEA in these patients, NAA was significantly increased, and in 7 of 8 patients whose pre-operative SPECT had indicated impairment of cerebral vasoreactivity, it was improved. Quantitative 1H-MRS and CBF measurements can indicate the severity of metabolic and hemodynamic impairment in patients with severe carotid stenosis, and can help to assess the effectiveness of CEA.