Although recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) was rapidly implemented as part of the emergency care of acute stroke, its use in daily clinical practice still remains controversial in many countries. The most important question is criteria for careful selection of subgroup of patients for this treatment. It has been hypothesized that early computed tomography (CT) changes of ischemia are risk factors for symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage and poor outcome. We conducted a prospective outcome study of patients with acute ischemic stroke (IS) admitted to the hospital within 6 h of symptom onset. Experienced neuroradiologists blind to the clinical outcome of the patients read all CT scans carried out in the emergency room. Early CT changes were defined as in European Cooperative Acute Stroke Study (ECASS) 2. There were 150 patients (75 males, mean age 72.5 +/- 9.0) with acute IS (54.7% with mild stroke and 45.3% with severe stroke). Early CT changes were presented with tissue hypodensity - 55.7%, effacement of sulci - 41.3%, hyperdensity of middle cerebral artery (MCA) - 13.3%, hypodensity of lentiform - 20.7%, loss of insular ribbon sign - 28.7%. Follow-up after 30 days showed that 44% of the patients were discharged home, 20% were discharged to rehabilitation facilities, 22% were discharged to chronic care institutions and 14% died. Data were statistically analyzed. Our data suggest that early signs on CT scan could not predict outcome of patients with acute IS.