The authors describe their experience with a baboon model of reversible cerebral ischemia. Middle cerebral artery occlusion was achieved by external compression with an implantable, inflatable balloon cuff in awake, unanesthetized baboons. Selective cerebral angiography confirmed consistent, reliable occlusion. Computed tomography demonstrated early density changes after ischemia, which were reversible with reperfusion. Neurological evaluation demonstrated a "recruitment response" of increasingly persistent deficit with repeated occlusion. Permanent deficits were noted after extensive angiography during periods of occlusion. This was accompanied by the dropout of small vessels in the middle cerebral artery distribution. The results of pathological examinations were consistent with the clinical examinations. No gross or microscopic changes were noted after repeated occlusions that caused deficits like those of transient ischemic attacks. Consistent infarctions were noted in animals with permanent deficits after permanent occlusion or after repeated occlusion and extensive angiography.