Ghost Infarct Core and Admission Computed Tomography Perfusion: Redefining the Role of Neuroimaging in Acute Ischemic Stroke

Nuno Martins, Ana Aires, Beatriz Mendez, Sandra Boned, Marta Rubiera, Alejandro Tomasello, Pilar Coscojuela, David Hernandez, Marián Muchada, David Rodríguez-Luna, Noelia Rodríguez, Jesús M. Juega, Jorge Pagola, Carlos A. Molina, Marc Ribó

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Determining the size of infarct extent is crucial to elect patients for reperfusion therapies. Computed tomography perfusion (CTP) based on cerebral blood volume may overestimate infarct core on admission and consequently include ghost infarct core (GIC) in a definitive lesional area. Purpose: Our goal was to confirm and better characterize the GIC phenomenon using CTP cerebral blood flow (CBF) as the reference parameter to determine infarct core. Methods: We performed a retrospective, single-center analysis of consecutive thrombectomies of middle cerebral or intracranial internal carotid artery occlusions considering noncontrast CT Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score ≥6 in patients with pretreatment CTP. We used the RAPID® software to measure admission infarct core based on initial CBF. The final infarct was extracted from follow-up CT. GIC was defined as initial core minus final infarct > 10 mL. Results: A total of 123 patients were included. The median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score was 18 (13-20), the median time from symptoms to CTP was 188 (67-288) min, and the recanalization rate (Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction score 2b, 2c, or 3) was 83%. Twenty patients (16%) presented with GIC. GIC was associated with shorter time to recanalization (150 [105-291] vs. 255 [163-367] min, p = 0.05) and larger initial CBF core volume (38 [26-59] vs. 6 [0-27] mL, p < 0.001). An adjusted logistic regression model identified time to recanalization < 302 min (OR 4.598, 95% CI 1.143-18.495, p = 0.032) and initial infarct volume (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.001-1.019, p = 0.032) as independent predictors of GIC. At 24 h, clinical improvement was more frequent in patients with GIC (80 vs. 49%, p = 0.01). Conclusions: CTP CBF < 30% may overestimate infarct core volume, especially in patients imaged in the very early time window and with fast complete reperfusion. Therefore, the CTP CBF technique may exclude patients who would benefit from endovascular treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-521
Number of pages9
JournalInterventional Neurology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


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