Why do they perform a blood flow measurement in the brain?

DIAGNOSE STROKE. Blockage of blood supply within the brain can be ischemic or hemmoragic. Embolic stroke is common from atrial fibrillation of the heart. Diseases such as alzheimers or frontal-temporal dementia can be diagnosed with positron emission tomography using a tiny dose of radioactive sugar. Blood flow is measured indirectly by the pattern of brain metabolism.

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What are they looking for when they perform a blood flow measurement in the brain?

CT Perfusion scan. Most often this is done to determine the amount of brain that is still viable after a stroke. If there is still viable brain, then an intervention - such as opening up a vessel or removing clot would be worth the risk. More precisely, they are determining the amount of brain at risk of dying if no intervention is performed (the ischemic penumbra). Read more...