How Can You Diagnose A Stroke?

A stroke or signs and symptoms of a stroke should always be treated as a medical emergency. 911 should be called and a person should be taken to the nearest emergency room for a physician evaluation.  A physician will generally complete a series of tests and examination procedures depending on the signs and symptoms that a person presents​.

  • A physical examination including blood pressure check
  • Thrombolytic therapy – medications used to dissolve blood clots
  • Radiologic or X-ray testing; CT or MRI scan of the head this could be completed with or without an intravenous (inside the vein) dye to observe the flow of blood
  • Echocardiogram (views the heart) if the stroke is thought to be associated with heart disease
  • Electrocardiogram – ECG also evaluates the heart if the stroke is thought to be associated with heart disease
  • Carotid duplex – dye injected into the carotid arteries in the neck to evaluate if there is a narrowing of those arteries impeding blood flow to the brain
  • Blood tests – comprehensive evaluation of blood to include the length of time it takes for the blood to clot, blood cholesterol and other indicators that may be the cause of the stroke.
  • Surgery – especially in the case of a ruptured blood vessel to remove blood from around the brain
  • Angiogram to insert a tube into the brain to see if it's possible to open up the narrowed blood vessel
  • Spinal tap