Diagnosis & Tests

The first thing a healthcare professional needs to do in an emergency is to figure out whether the person is having a stroke and what type it is - ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke.

During the first exam, the healthcare professional will:

  • Check the persons blood pressure
  • Order lab tests to look for high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and blood clotting time.
  • Check for disabilities, such as weakness, paralysis; and problems with senses like vision, hearing, touch, and mental function.

The following tests may be appropriate for a stroke:

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan of the head or a brain MRI
  • Angiograms, which show blood flow
  • Echocardiogram (pictures of the heart)
  • Ultrasound and Doppler studies (to check the carotid arteries in the neck)
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) (measures of heart rhythyms)
  • Heart rhythm monitoring for abnormal heartbeats 

Last Updated March 2023

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