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Case Rep Neurol. 2011 Sep;3(3):233-8. doi: 10.1159/000333104. Epub 2011 Oct 2.

Hypoperfusion of an entire cerebral hemisphere - stroke or postictal deficit?

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


The clinical differential diagnosis between ischemic stroke and postictal deficit is sometimes challenging. If the clinical presentation is inconclusive, perfusion imaging can help to identify stroke patients for thrombolysis therapy. However, also epileptic phenomena may alter cerebral perfusion. Hypoperfusion spreading beyond the borders of cerebrovascular territories is usually considered suggestive of an etiology other than stroke. We present a patient whose clinical symptoms suggested a postictal deficit rather than an acute stroke. CT perfusion imaging showed hypoperfusion of the entire left cerebral hemisphere covering all vascular territories. CT angiography revealed occlusions in the ipsilateral internal carotid artery and in the circle of Willis as the cause of the global hypoperfusion. The patient was treated with i.v. thrombolysis and recovered with moderate disability. This is the first description of hyperacute ischemia of an entire cerebral hemisphere and its treatment with thrombolysis. It demonstrates the potential of modern neuroimaging in identifying atypically presenting strokes and shows that i.v. thrombolysis can be effectively and safely used to treat such potentially fatal insults.


CT; CT angiography; Malignant stroke; Neuroradiology; Perfusion imaging; Postictal state; Thrombolysis

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