The Cortical Ischemic Core and Not the Consistently Present Penumbra Is a Determinant of Clinical Outcome in Acute Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion
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Background and Purpose— Patient selection for acute stroke therapy based on physiology rather than on time may lead to expansion of the therapeutic window, improved outcomes, and fewer side effects than currently achieved. This approach requires early determination of both irreversible (core) and reversible (penumbra) ischemia in acute stroke.
Methods— Using established perfusion thresholds, we characterized the relationship among core, penumbra, and brain tissue perfused above penumbral thresholds (non-core/non-penumbra [NC/NP]) in 36 patients with middle cerebral artery (MCA) stem occlusion who underwent quantitative cerebral blood flow (CBF) assessment with xenon-enhanced CT within 6 hours of symptom onset. Results were expressed as percentage of core, percentage of penumbra, or percentage of NC/NP relative to the ipsilateral cortical MCA territory and were correlated with clinical and radiological variables and with clinical outcomes.
Results— While great variability in the mean±SD percentage of core (37.6±18.7) and NC/NP (30.3±16.6) was observed, the percentage of penumbra was relatively constant from individual to individual, constituting approximately one third of the cortical MCA territory (32.1±7). In univariable and multivariable analyses, percent core and not percent penumbra was significantly associated with outcome.
Conclusions— In acute MCA occlusion, penumbra is consistently present within a relatively narrow range, despite great variability in the size of core. This may explain why the core and not the penumbra is the main determinant of outcome in our group of patients. Recanalization therapy in acute MCA occlusion should ideally be guided by diagnostic methods capable of rapidly and reliably identifying irreversible ischemia.
- brain ischemia
- cerebral blood flow
- computed tomography, x-ray computed
- middle cerebral artery occlusion
- Received May 21, 2002.
- Revision received May 13, 2003.
- Accepted May 27, 2003.