Relevance of the cerebral collateral circulation in ischaemic stroke: time is brain, but collaterals set the pace.

Jung, Simon; Wiest, Roland; Gralla, Jan; McKinley, Richard; Mattle, Heinrich; Liebeskind, David (2017). Relevance of the cerebral collateral circulation in ischaemic stroke: time is brain, but collaterals set the pace. Swiss medical weekly, 147(w14538), w14538. EMH Schweizerischer Ärzteverlag 10.4414/smw.2017.14538

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Blood supply to the brain is secured by an extensive collateral circulation system, which can be divided into primary routes, i.e., the Circle of Willis, and secondary routes, e.g., collaterals from the external to the internal carotid artery and leptomeningeal collaterals. Collateral flow is the basis for acute stroke treatment, since neurones will only survive long enough to be rescued with reperfusion therapies if there is sufficient collateral flow. Poor collateral flow is associated with worse outcome and faster growth of larger infarcts in acute stroke treatment. Therapeutic promotion of collateral flow theoretically offers the chance for outcome improvement, but randomised trials are lacking. The extent of collateral flow is highly variable between individuals. As a consequence, the speeds of infarct growth are highly variable, resulting in varying individual treatment time windows until the whole salvageable tissue has become infarcted. An ideal patient selection for reperfusion therapies should be based on imaging of the salvageable tissue, the so called penumbra. The penumbra can be approximately visualised by computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but both methods are significantly inaccurate in about 25% of the patients. There is a need for improved penumbra imaging by CT and MRI, and first studies applying machine learning techniques have shown promising results.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Jung, Simon, Wiest, Roland Gerhard Rudi, Gralla, Jan, McKinley, Richard, Mattle, Heinrich


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




EMH Schweizerischer Ärzteverlag




Stefanie Hetzenecker

Date Deposited:

21 Dec 2017 16:29

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:29

Publisher DOI:


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