Fifteen patients with acute cerebral hemispheric infarcts have been studied with positron emission tomography and the oxygen-15 steady-state inhalation technique. Thirteen follow-up studies were also performed. The values of cerebral oxygen metabolism (CMRO2), cerebral blood flow (CBF), and oxygen extraction ration (OER) have been calculated for the infarcted regions, their borders, the symmetrical regions in contralateral cerebral hemispheres, and the cerebellar hemispheres. This study demonstrates that in the completed stroke there are thresholds for regional CMRO2 and regional CBF below which the general clinical outcome of the patients is usually poor. The ischaemic lesions invariably produce an uncoupling between the greatly decreased metabolic demand and the less affected blood supply, with very frequent instances of relative hyperperfusion. Remote effects of the hemispheric infarcts have been demonstrated, such as crossed cerebellar diaschisis and contralateral transhemispheric depression. The level of consciousness correlates with oxygen uptake and blood flow both in the posterior fossa and in the contralateral cerebral hemispheres. The follow-up studies of individual patients underline the high variability of metabolism-to-flow balance during the acute phase of the illness, and stress the need for more studies focused on repeated assessments of homogeneous patient populations.