In 21 patients who suffered aphasia resulting from left hemisphere ischemic infarction, the xenon 133 inhalation cerebral blood flow technique was used to measure cerebral blood flow within 3 months and 5 to 12 months after stroke. In addition to baseline measurements, cerebral blood flow measurements were also carried out while the patients were performing purposeful listening. In patients with incomplete recovery of comprehension and left posterior temporal-inferior parietal lesions, greater cerebral blood flow occurred with listening in the right inferior frontal region in the late studies than in the early studies. In patients with nearly complete recovery of comprehension and without left posterior temporal-inferior parietal lesions, early listening studies showed diffuse right hemisphere increases in cerebral blood flow. Later listening studies in this latter patient group showed greater cerebral blood flow in the left posterior temporal-inferior parietal region. The study provides evidence for participation of the right hemisphere in language comprehension in recovering aphasics, and for later return of function in left hemisphere regions that may have been functionally impaired early during recovery.