Int J Stroke 2018 04 15;13(3):277-284. Epub 2017 Nov 15.
1 Stroke & Ageing Research (STARC), Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia.
It has been 40 years since the ischemic penumbra was first conceptualized through work on animal models. The topography of penumbra has been portrayed as an infarcted core surrounded by penumbral tissue and an extreme rim of oligemic tissue. This picture has been used in many review articles and textbooks before the advent of modern imaging. In this paper, we review our understanding of the topography of the ischemic penumbra from the initial experimental animal models to current developments with neuroimaging which have helped to further define the temporal and spatial evolution of the penumbra and refine our knowledge. The concept of the penumbra has been successfully applied in clinical trials of endovascular therapies with a time window as long as 24 h from onset. Further, there are reports of "good" outcome even in patients with a large ischemic core. This latter observation of good outcome despite having a large core requires an understanding of the topography of the penumbra and the function of the infarcted regions. It is proposed that future research in this area takes departure from a time-dependent approach to a more individualized tissue and location-based approach.