Diffusion MR imaging provides unique information about the physiologic state of ischemic tissue. It is highly sensitive and specific in the detection of acute and hyperacute ischemic stroke and has greatly improved the diagnosis and treatment of acute stroke. The DWI abnormality provides information about clinical outcome and final infarct size. Diffusion combined with perfusion MR imaging provides information about the operational ischemic penumbra and final infarct size. Diffusion MR imaging seems to be promising in the evaluation of candidates for thrombolysis.