Pathologic processes affecting the brain vessels may damage cerebral vasodilatory capacity. Early detection of cerebral dysfunction plays an important role in the prevention of cerebrovascular diseases. In recent decades acetazolamide (AZ) has frequently been used for this purpose. In the present work the mechanism of action and the previous studies are reviewed. The authors conclude that AZ tests are useful in cerebrovascular research. Further investigations are recommended to prove how impaired reserve capacity and reactivity influence the stroke risk in patients and whether these tests may indicate therapeutic interventions.