Regional cerebral blood flow was studied using 99mTc-HM-PAO and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) in five healthy subjects and in eight patients with clinical and computed tomography (CT) features of subcortical arteriosclerotic encephalopathy. All the patients and controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Circumscribed cortical hypoperfusion was observed in three patients, and in one case there was no evidence of cortical or sulcal alterations on MRI. In all the patients, a reduction of the white matter perfusion was found in periventricular and/or supraventricular regions. This pattern was substantially correlated with the typical white matter hyperintensities shown by MRI scans. These findings support the hypothesis that white matter hypoperfusion is the most prominent functional abnormality in subcortical arteriosclerotic encephalopathy.