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Tests Used to Confirm a Stroke

Tests Used for Diagnosing Stroke

There are several routine tests doctors order when they suspect a patient may have had a stroke. These include certain blood tests that can help find conditions that cause symptoms similar to those associated with a stroke or for risk factors for stroke (such diabetes or high cholesterol).
Physicians also use several diagnostic techniques and imaging tools to help diagnose a stroke quickly and accurately. Two of the most commonly used diagnostic tools are a CT scan and an MRI. These tests can be used to help determine:
  • If a stroke occurred
  • Its location
  • Whether it is caused by bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke) or lack of oxygen and nutrients (ischemic stroke).
Doctors may also use these stroke tests to rule out other possible health problems that can mimic signs of a stroke, such as a tumor.

Other Tests Used for Diagnosing Stroke

There are other tests that the healthcare provider may recommend. These tests can help diagnose a stroke or other medical condition that may mimic stroke symptoms. Some of these tests may also be used to determine what caused the stroke. These tests for stroke include:
  • Carotid Doppler ultrasound
  • Carotid arteriography
  • Cerebral angiography (also known as a cerebral angiogram, cerebral arteriogram, or digital subtraction angiography)
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Transcranial Doppler
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Electroencephalography (EEG).
(Click Stroke Tests to learn more about each of these tests.)
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