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Neurosurgery. 2003 Jan;52(1):238-41; discussion 242.

Early carotid endarterectomy after ischemic stroke improves diffusion/perfusion mismatch on magnetic resonance imaging: report of two cases.

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  • 1Pennsylvania State University-Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033, USA.



The functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques of diffusion-weighted imaging and perfusion-weighted imaging allow for ultra-early detection of brain infarction and concomitant identification of blood flow abnormalities in surrounding regions, which may represent brain "at risk."


We report two patients with acute ischemic stroke associated with ipsilateral high-grade carotid stenosis. The first patient, a 64-year-old woman with a remote history of ischemic stroke and a vertebral artery aneurysm, presented with worsening of her preexisting right hemiparesis. The second patient, another 64-year-old woman with known multiple intracranial aneurysms and bilateral high-grade internal carotid artery stenosis, was admitted for the elective microsurgical clipping of an enlarging giant left carotid-ophthalmic artery aneurysm. Postoperatively, she developed right hemiparesis and mild aphasia. Both patients showed progressive worsening of their neurological deficits in the setting of small or undetected diffusion-weighted imaging abnormalities and large perfusion-weighted imaging defects.


After prompt carotid endarterectomy, symptoms in both patients resolved or improved. Follow-up magnetic resonance imaging scans demonstrated resolution or significant improvement in the perfusion abnormalities in both patients.


Carotid endarterectomy in the setting of diffusion-weighted/perfusion-weighted imaging mismatch can lead to improvement in cerebral perfusion as evidenced by resolution of the perfusion-weighted imaging lesion. Diffusion/perfusion magnetic resonance imaging may be useful in identifying patients with severe neurological deficits but without large territories of infarction who may safely undergo early surgical revascularization.

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