Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability after ischemic heart disease. However, there is lacking a non-invasive long-time monitoring technique for stroke diagnosis and therapy. The photoacoustic imaging approach reconstructs images of an object based on the energy excitation by optical absorption and its conversion to acoustic waves, due to corresponding thermoelastic expansion, which has optical resolution and acoustic propagation. This emerging functional imaging method is a non-invasive technique. Due to its precision, this method is particularly attractive for stroke monitoring purpose. In this paper, we review the achievements of this technology and its applications on stroke, as well as the development status in both animal and human applications. Also, various photoacoustic systems and multi-modality photoacoustic imaging are introduced as for potential clinical applications. Finally, the challenges of photoacoustic imaging for monitoring stroke are discussed.

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