Person in MRI Which Types of Diagnostic Tests Are Used to Diagnose a Stroke?

A doctor may use many different tests. Diagnostic tests examine how the brain looks, works and gets its blood supply. Most are safe and painless.

  • Computed Tomography, or CT and CAT scan, is a key imaging test of the brain. It uses radiation to create a picture of the brain. A CAT scan is usually one of the first tests given to a patient with stroke  symptoms. Results give valuable information about the cause of stroke and the location and extent of brain injury. 
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a large magnetic field to produce an image of the brain. Like the CT scan, it shows the location and extent of brain injury. The image produced by MRI is sharper and more detailed than a CT scan, so it’s often used to diagnose small, deep injuries.
  • An angiogram gives detailed information about the condition of arteries in your head and neck that supply blood to your brain. Another test is a medical procedure called angiography. In this test, a dye is injected into the blood vessels and an X-ray is taken. Angiography gives a picture of the blood flow through the vessels. This allows the size and location of blockages to be evaluated. This test is especially valuable in diagnosing aneurysms and malformed blood vessels and providing valuable information before surgery.

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Stroke Specialists

Stroke Neurology

Stroke Nurse Practitioner

  • Ashley Carlson-Chalifoux, MS, RN, AGACNP-BC, CCRN


Vascular Neurosurgery

Interventional Neuroradiology

Stroke Coordinator 

  • Jacqueline Leutbecker BSN, RN, SCRN 

Stroke Nurse Navigator 

  • Kelsey Monacci BSN, RN, CCRN, SCRN