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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Diagnosis & Testing

Learning the type of stroke one has experienced will help your doctor determine the best course of treatment and therapy to aid in your recovery.

Your doctor will diagnose you based on signs and symptoms as well as a physical examination, medical history and performing tests to assess your condition.

Your doctor will try to discover from your family history whether there are risk factors present, there, and they will check your coordination, balance, and mental awareness.

They will check to see whether you have any numbness or difficulty speaking or seeing clearly.

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: this test can show any bleeding in the brain or damage to brain cells caused by a stroke, and may also reveal any brain conditions that may have caused the symptoms.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): this test can reveal changes in brain tissue from the stroke
  • CT or MR arteriograms: these tests can show the large blood vessels in the brain, as well as reveal the flow of blood through the brain or the size of a blood clot
  • Carotid ultrasound: this test uses sound to create images of the insides of the carotid arteries, and can show whether plaques have narrowed or blocked the carotid arteries
  • Doppler ultrasound: this special ultrasound shows the speed and direction of blood flow through the blood vessels
  • Carotid angiography: this test uses a contrast dye solution and X-rays to show the inside of the carotid arteries

There are also tests to record the heart’s activity, as well as blood tests to measure levels of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream, and the number of platelets in the blood, as well as whether the blood is clotting normally.

Last UpdateApril 30, 2012