Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a helpful tool for the management of stroke patients. Brain perfusion SPECT can help differentiate an ischemic event from peri-ictal phenomena such as Todd's paresis. Initial data suggest that SPECT may be useful in prognosticating the likelihood of an early stroke after a transient ischemic attack and in distinguishing lacunar from cortical stroke. After an acute stroke, early SPECT depicts the area of ischemia with greater accuracy than either computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. When the perfusion defect is large, the likelihood of hemorrhagic complications or herniation increases. Reperfusion of an arterial territory after thrombolysis can be documented more conveniently with SPECT than with angiography. SPECT before and after the injection of acetazolamide has been used to assess the vascular reserve in patients with severe stenosis of the proximal vessels of the cerebrovascular tree. Combined with transcranial Doppler studies, SPECT is used to document ischemia after subarachnoid hemorrhage. It has also been used to assess the effect of arterial ligation intended to treat arteriovenous malformations or aneurysms on brain perfusion and to evaluate ischemia secondary to pressure from an intracranial hemorrhage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology