Below are descriptions of common diagnostic tests used to determine if a stroke has occurred. There may be additional tests ordered to ensure no other health problems exist.

  • Laboratory Blood Tests: You may need blood taken for different tests. We will check your bleeding times, cholesterol, blood counts and electrolytes.
  • Diagnostic Imaging Tests: You may have any of the following tests to diagnose a stroke:
    • Computerized Axial Tomographic Scan (CT or CAT Scan): This is also called a CAT scan. A special x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your brain. It may be used to look at the skull, brain tissue, and blood vessels. You may be given dye before the pictures are taken. The dye is usually given in your IV. The dye may help your doctor see the pictures better. Allergies: People who are allergic to iodine or shellfish (lobster, crab, or shrimp) may be allergic to some dyes. Tell the doctor if you are allergic to shellfish, or have other allergies or medical conditions.
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanning (MRI): Using magnetic waves, this test, also called an MRI, takes pictures of your head. An MRI can provide very accurate images of the brain and is used to determine the presence, location and size of aneurysms and ischemic strokes. You will need to lie still during an MRI.