Neuroimaging provides detailed information regarding the hemodynamic, metabolic and cellular parameters of cerebral ischemia (CI). Although providing just a snapshot in time, it assists in delineating the boundaries and extent of this continually evolving process, from the irreversibly damaged infarct core to the penumbral tissue, where salvage via reperfusion has been the focus of acute stroke therapies. Beyond the extent of the ischemic lesion, neuroimaging elucidates the topography and underlying mechanism of CI. Finally, based on the pathophysiological information, neuroimaging assists in the selection of optimal therapeutic strategies, from hyperacute to chronic phases of CI. Here we review different neuroimaging techniques by which the pathophysiology of cerebral ischemia can be delineated.
This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Cerebral Ischemia’.