Imaging of stroke: Part 1, Perfusion CT--overview of imaging technique, interpretation pearls, and common pitfalls

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2012 Jan;198(1):52-62. doi: 10.2214/AJR.10.7255.


Objective: Perfusion CT is being increasingly used as a diagnostic tool for the evaluation of acute ischemic stroke. It can be performed rapidly and aids in the detection of salvageable tissue (penumbra) from the unsalvageable core infarct. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the imaging technique, interpretation pearls, and common pitfalls encountered in perfusion CT of the brain.

Conclusion: Perfusion CT has proven to be a valuable tool in the diagnosis of acute ischemic stroke. The knowledge provided by these cases will allow the reader not only to confidently identify the presence of acute ischemic stroke, but also to recognize the common pitfalls and limitations of perfusion CT in this setting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Contrast Media
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Contrast Media