Cerebral blood flow tomography with xenon-133

Semin Nucl Med. 1985 Oct;15(4):347-56. doi: 10.1016/s0001-2998(85)80013-1.


Cerebral blood flow (CBF) can be measured tomographically by inhalation of Xenon-133. The calculation is based on taking a sequence of tomograms during the wash-in and wash-out phase of the tracer. Due to the dynamic nature of the process, a highly sensitive and fast moving single photon emission computed tomograph (SPECT) is required. Two brain-dedicated SPECT systems designed for this purpose are mentioned, and the method is described with special reference to the limitations inherent in the soft energy of the 133Xe primary photons. CBF tomography can be used for a multitude of clinical and investigative purposes. This article discusses in particular its use for the selection of patients with carotid occlusion for extracranial/intracranial bypass surgery, for detection of severe arterial spasm after aneurysm bleeding, and for detection of low flow areas during severe migraine attacks. The use of other tracers for CBF tomography using SPECT is summarized with emphasis on the 99mTc chelates that freely pass the intact blood-brain barrier. The highly sensitive brain-dedicated SPECT systems described are a prerequisite for achieving high resolution tomograms with such tracers.

MeSH terms

  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / diagnostic imaging
  • Technetium
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / methods*
  • Xenon Radioisotopes*


  • Xenon Radioisotopes
  • Technetium