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Acta Neurol Scand. 1997 Nov;96(5):317-23.

Early CCT signs of supratentorial brain infarction: clinico-radiological correlations.

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Department of Neurology, Ruhr University, St Josef-Hospital, Bochum, Germany.


Early signs of brain infarction can be detected by modern CCT technology even within the first 6 h after stroke. Little is known about the prognostic significance of early infarction signs in CCT. We prospectively evaluated clinical and CCT findings of 95 consecutive patients with an acute ischemia in the territory of the middle cerebral artery. All patients were admitted to our stroke unit within 6 h after stroke. In 55 patients CCT was performed within 3 h, and in 40 cases between 3 and 6 h. In all patients the clinical findings were assessed by the Scandinavian Stroke Scale (SSS). The disability due to stroke was evaluated after 4 weeks by use of the modified Rankin Scale. We could demonstrate the following early signs of cerebral infarction: focal hypodensity (23.2%), obscuration of basal ganglia (12.6%), focal brain swelling (22.1%), hyperdense middle cerebral artery sign (HMCA; 11.5%). In 3 patients early edema led to ventricular compression, in 1 patient to midline shift. The occurrence of early infarction signs did not depend on the etiology of ischemia but was significantly associated with a severe neurological deficit at admission and an unfavourable disability status 4 weeks after stroke. Focal brain swelling and HMCA were often followed by extensive infarction lesions on the follow-up CCT. In conclusion, early signs of hemispheric brain infarction visible on CCT scans performed within 6 h after stroke are correlated with severe stroke and an unfavourable functional outcome. However, a substantial part of our patients had a benign course of the disease in spite of early CCT pathology. Decisions on therapy in individual patients therefore should not depend on early CCT findings exclusively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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