Tests to Diagnose a Stroke
How is a stroke diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask
you about your health history. He or she will give you a physical exam. You may also
have these tests to diagnose a stroke.
Imaging tests of the brain
CT scan. This test uses X-rays and a computer to
make pictures of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the
body. This includes bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are used to find
changes or defects. They can also help find the site or type of stroke.
MRI. This test uses large
magnets, radio waves, and a computer. It makes detailed images of tissues in the
body. It uses magnetic fields to see small changes in brain tissue. This helps to
find and diagnose stroke.
This is a type of nuclear brain scan. It is only done in special cases. A
radioactive tracer is injected into a vein in the arm. Then a machine creates a
map showing the tracer’s movement to different parts of the head. This shows how
the brain works. It can often find areas of reduced blood flow and tissue
CT angiography (CTA). This
test uses CT technology to get images of blood vessels.
Magnetic resonance angiography
This test checks blood flow through arteries using MRI technology.
Conventional cerebral angiogram.
A tube (catheter) is used to check cerebral blood. It can find the exact site
of the blood vessel blockage.
Tests that assess the brain’s electrical
This test records the brain’s electrical signals. It uses electrodes put on your
scalp. This can be a routine EEG study. Or it may be ongoing, long-term
Evoked potentials. These
tests record the brain’s electrical response to light, sound, and touch.
Tests that measure blood flow
Carotid phonoangiography. A
small microphone is placed over the carotid artery on the neck. It records sounds
made by blood flow as it passes through an artery that is partly blocked.
Doppler sonography (carotid
A handheld probe (transducer) sends sound waves into a blood
vessel to check blood flow. A very faint sound, or no sound, may mean a problem
with blood flow.
A transducer is used to send sound waves through the
skull. This can find problems with the blood vessels below.
Ocular plethysmography. This
test measures pressure on the eyes. It can also finds pulses in the eyes.
Cerebral blood flow test
This test measures the amount of oxygen in the blood
supply that reaches different areas of the brain.
Digital subtraction angiography
This test makes an image of the blood vessels in the brain. This is
used to find a problem with blood flow. A small, thin tube (catheter) is placed in
a leg artery. It is passed up to the blood vessels in the brain. A contrast dye is
injected into the catheter. Then X-ray images are taken.