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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 1991 Mar-Apr;12(2):201-13.

Stable xenon CT cerebral blood flow imaging: rationale for and role in clinical decision making.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Presbyterian University Hospital, PA 15213.


The stable xenon CT method of measuring cerebral blood flow has been investigated in research studies for over 10 years. Recently, it has been gaining clinical acceptance, primarily owing to a combination of several unique advantages it holds over other cerebral blood flow measurement techniques. The accuracy of this technique in quantifying low cerebral blood flow gives it a unique application in cases of brain death and acute stroke and it can be repeated after an interval of 20 min. making it possible to evaluate autoregulation and cerebrovascular reserve. Furthermore, cerebral blood flow information is directly coupled to CT anatomy. Although it is more difficult to administer than a standard CT scan, careful monitoring can ensure patient safety during the examination. In this article we review the physiologic and technical bases for the clinical application of xenon CT-derived quantitative cerebral blood flow information and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the technique. We also describe its current clinical applications, including its usefulness in the evaluation of acute stroke, occlusive vascular disease, carotid occlusion testing, vasospasm, arteriovenous malformations, and head trauma management.

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