CTP images showing examples of hyperperfusion respecting (A) or not (B) a vascular territory in the seizure group. A, An 84-year-old woman presenting with Wernicke aphasia and complete right hemianopsia: left fronto-parieto-occipital hyperperfusion, which may correspond with the posterior cortical branch of left middle cerebral artery. B, An 80-year-old woman presenting with mutism, right hemiplegia, and left forced gaze deviation: left parieto-occipital hyperperfusion not respecting a vascular territory (the left posterior cerebral artery was exclusively from the basilar artery).

The clinical differentiation between acute ischemic stroke and epileptic seizure may be challenging, and making the correct diagnosis could avoid unnecessary reperfusion therapy. We examined the accuracy of CTP in discriminating epileptic seizures from acute ischemic stroke without identified arterial occlusion.


We retrospectively identified consecutive patients in our emergency department who underwent CTP in the 4.5 hours following the development of an acute focal neurologic deficit who were discharged with a final diagnosis of acute ischemic stroke or epileptic seizure.


Among 95 patients, the final diagnosis was epileptic seizure in 45 and acute ischemic stroke in 50. CTP findings were abnormal in 73% of the patients with epileptic seizure and 40% of those with acute ischemic stroke. Hyperperfusion was observed more frequently in the seizure group (36% versus 2% for acute ischemic stroke) with high specificity (98%) but low sensitivity (35%) for the diagnosis of epileptic seizure. Hypoperfusion was found in 38% of cases in each group and was not confined to a vascular territory in 24% of patients in the seizure group and 2% in the acute ischemic stroke group. The interobserver agreement was good (κ = 0.60) for hypo-, hyper-, and normoperfusion patterns and moderate (κ = 0.41) for the evaluation of vascular systematization.


CTP patterns helped to differentiate acute ischemic stroke from epileptic seizure in a “code stroke” situation. Our results indicate that a hyperperfusion pattern, especially if not restricted to a vascular territory, may suggest reconsideration of intravenous thrombolysis therapy.

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Jeffrey Ross

• Mayo Clinic, Phoenix

Dr. Jeffrey S. Ross is a Professor of Radiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and practices neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. His publications include over 100 peer-reviewed articles, nearly 60 non-refereed articles, 33 book chapters, and 10 books. He was an AJNR Senior Editor from 2006-2015, is a member of the editorial board for 3 other journals, and a manuscript reviewer for 10 journals. He became Editor-in-Chief of the AJNR in July 2015. He received the Gold Medal Award from the ASSR in 2013.

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