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Diagnosis of Stroke
- Neurological exams
- Blood and urine tests
- Imaging scans
- CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the head
- MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the head
- Arteriography —a test that shows arteries in the brain after an injection of x-ray dye
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)—a test that uses a dye to show the blood vessels in the brain
- CT angiography (CTA)—a test that uses a dye to show blood vessels using the CT machine
- Functional MRI—a test that shows brain activity by picking up signals from oxygenated blood in the brain
- Doppler ultrasound or carotid ultrasonography—a test that shows narrowing of the carotid arteries and vertebral arteries in the neck that supply the brain
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)—a test that uses sensors to evaluate electrical brain activity; may be helpful to rule out other causes of symptoms that may look like a stroke
- Lumbar puncture —a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid from the lower back; not routinely done, unless the doctor is trying to rule out a hemorrhagic stroke or an infection of the central nervous system
- Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)—a test that records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle
- Echocardiogram —a test that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the size, shape, and motion of the heart
- Blood tests—to look at cholesterol and factors that may make your blood more or less likely to bleed
Albers GW, Amarenco P, Easton JD, et al. Antithrombotic and thrombolytic therapy for ischemic stroke: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest . 2008;133(suppl 6):887S-968S.
Carpenter, C, Keim S, Milne W, Meurer W, Barsan W. Thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke beyond three hours. J Emerg Med . 2010; June 23rd [Epub ahead of print].
Neuroimaging for acute stroke. EBSCO Publishing DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated August 30, 2012. Accessed September 4, 2012.
Stroke (acute management). EBSCO Publishing DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated August 30, 2012. Accessed September 4, 2012.
Stroke diagnosis. The Internet Stroke Center website. Available at: http://www.strokecenter.org/patients/stroke-diagnosis/lab-tests-and-procedures/ . Accessed September 4, 2012.
Know stroke. Stroke National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://stroke.nih.gov . Accessed September 4, 2012.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013
- Update Date: 01/13/2014