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.