Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, your doctor may do these
Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). This test uses a combination
of X-rays and computer technology to make horizontal, or axial, images (often called
slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including
the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are used to detect abnormalities and
help identify the location or type of stroke.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This test uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies,
and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the body; an
MRI uses magnetic fields to detect small changes in brain tissue that helps to locate
and diagnose stroke.
Radionuclide angiography. A nuclear brain scan in which radioactive compounds are
injected into a vein in the arm, and a machine (similar to a Geiger counter) creates
a map showing their uptake into different parts of the head. The images show how the
brain functions rather than its structure. This test, only done in special situations, can
often detect areas of decreased blood flow and tissue damage.
Computed tomographic angiography (CTA). An X-ray image of the blood vessels. A CT
angiogram uses CT technology to get images of blood vessels.
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). This test is used to evaluate blood flow through
arteries in a noninvasive (the skin is not pierced) manner using MRI technology.
Conventional cerebral angiogram. A catheter is used to examine cerebral blood to determine
the specific location of the blood vessel blockage.