Ischaemic stroke results from acute arterial occlusion leading to focal hypoperfusion. Thrombolysis is the only proven treatment. Advanced neuroimaging techniques allow a detailed assessment of the cerebral circulation in patients with acute stroke, and provide information about the status of collateral vessels and collateral blood flow, which could attenuate the effects of arterial occlusion. Imaging of the brain and vessels has shown that collateral flow can sustain brain tissue for hours after the occlusion of major arteries to the brain, and the augmentation or maintenance of collateral flow is therefore a potential therapeutic target. Several interventions that might augment collateral blood flow are being investigated.
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