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As everybody knows, in CT hemorrhage is hyperdense, while ischemia is hypodense. This is invaluable knowledge for the exams.

However, I would like to underline that, in practice, within the first 24-48 hours nothing of the above may be evident, in either case. This is the reason why at this interval an additional CT is ordered. In this case, physicians search for cerebral edema surrounding the area that is supposed to be affected. This is the normal response of glia to neuronal tissue damage. What is more, this edema is usually responsible for the damage that follows the stroke; sometimes the primary lesion may be of minimal importance, but the compression phenomena caused by this secondary edema may be detrimental.

All these are irrelevant to TIA, of course, which, by definition, resolves within the first 24 hours without leaving trace (as other colleagues have beautifully described so far :)).

This post was to remind that things are rarely black & white in medicine, literally & metaphorically...:(
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