The ischemic penumbra: Operationally defined by diffusion and perfusion MRI

G. Schlaug, A. Benfield, A. E. Baird, B. Siewert, K. O. Lövblad, R. A. Parker, R. R. Edelman, S. Warach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

282 Scopus citations


Background: Identifying tissue at risk for infarction is important in deciding which patients would benefit most from potentially harmful therapies and provides a way to evaluate newer therapies with regard to the amount of ischemic tissue salvaged. Objective: To operationally define and characterize cerebral tissue at risk for stroke progression. Methods: We retrospectively selected 25 patients with an acute onset of a hemispheric stroke from our database who had undergone a combination of two diffusion-weighted MRI studies and a perfusion-weighted MRI study. We applied a logistic regression model using maps of the relative mean transit time and relative cerebral blood flow (rCBF) as well as three different maps of the relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) to predict an operationally defined penumbra (region of mismatch between the diffusion lesion on day i and its extension 24 to 72 hours later). Results: Maps of the rCBF and initial rCBV were significant predictors for identifying penumbral tissue. Our operationally defined penumbral region was characterized by a reduction in the initial rCBV (47% of contralateral control region [CCR]), an increase (163% of CCR) in the total rCBV, and a reduction (37% of CCR) in the rCBF, whereas the operationally defined ischemic core showed a more severe reduction in the rCBF (12% of CCR) and in the initial rCBV (19% of CCR). Conclusion: These MR indexes may allow the identification and quantification of viable but ischemically threatened cerebral tissue amenable to therapeutic interventions in the hyperacute care of stroke patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1528-1537
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 22 1999


  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Diffusion-weighted imaging
  • Ischemic penumbra
  • Ischemic stroke
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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