Regional cerebral blood flow (CBF), blood volume (CBV) and oxygen metabolic rate (CMRO2) were evaluated and compared among normals, patients with recent reversible ischaemic attacks (RIAs) and patients with chronic minor infarction using positron emission tomography. Average CBF together with CMRO2 significantly decreased in the infarction group in the middle cerebral artery territory of the affected hemisphere while the mean values for RIAs were intermediate between the other two groups. CBV also reduced, however it was more preserved compared to flow as seen in decreased CBF/CBV values. Significant interhemispheric difference was found in CBF/CBV ratio, but it did not clearly correlate with OEF changes. Higher OEF was noted only in the restricted brain regions of RIAs where CBF showed large hemispheric asymmetry. However, in other regions, the coupled decline of blood flow and metabolism was found which suggests tissue damage or neuronal cell loss in the brain with previous RIA symptoms.
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