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Stroke Diagnosis

It is critical to diagnose a stroke in progress because the appropriate treatment is dependent on the type of stroke, source of the attach and even the location of injury to the brain.  TIME is of the utmost importance in controlling the extent of any damage that a stroke can cause.  Ideally, treatment should begin before permanent brain damage can occur.

Different types of diagnostic tests that your doctor may order to diagnose a stroke may include:

  • Computerized Tomography (CT or CAT scan)  - This is usually the first test ordered for a patient with symptoms of possible stroke.  The CT captures images of the brain that can help the doctor confirm a diagnosis of stroke as well as identify the location, type of stroke and extent of the injury.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan (MRI) - This test studies the changes in behavior of brain cells by using magnetic fields.  The MRI can also show the location and extent of injury from a stroke.  The image created is sharper and more detailed than a CT scan, so it is often used to diagnose small, deep injuries of the brain.