Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) using 133Xe, N-isopropyl-p-[123I]iodoamphetamine ([123I]IMP) and [99mTc] hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime ([99mTc]HM-PAO) in 24 patients with cerebrovascular diseases. The greatest advantage of 133Xe SPECT was to be able to provide absolute rCBF values without arterial sampling. However, its image quality was very poor. Iodine-123 IMP SPECT provided rCBF images of higher quality and it had good correlation to 133Xe SPECT. Iodine-123 IMP SPECT provided the best images to detect mild ischemic lesions. It could detect obstructive or stenotic changes of large cerebral arteries very well except for a moderate stenosis of internal carotid artery. Technetium-99m HM-PAO SPECT also provided very good rCBF images and it had good correlation to 133Xe SPECT. However, the count-density ratios for the ischemic lesions to the contralateral presumed normal areas of [99mTc] HM-PAO SPECT were significantly higher than those of [123I]IMP SPECT.