A noninvasive three-dimensional method for measuring cerebral blood flow (CBF), xenon-133 inhalation and emission computerized tomography, was used to investigate the CBF changes accompanying delayed neurological deterioration following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). A total of 67 measurements were performed on 20 patients in Hunt and Hess' clinical Grades I to III in the first 21 days post SAH. Five patients with normal CBF tomograms on admission developed delayed neurological deficits in the 2nd week after hemorrhage, at which time repeat CBF tomograms in four patients revealed large areas of well defined regional flow decrease in the vascular territories of the anterior or middle cerebral arteries. Severe vasospasm was noted in three of these patients in whom arteriography was performed in the 2nd week post SAH. Diffuse bihemispheric CBF decreases were noted later in the course of delayed neurological deficits; however, measurements obtained soon after the onset of focal symptoms suggest that the only CBF decreases directly produced by vasospasm in Grade III patients are regional changes.