Testing for Stroke
The Stroke Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center embraces a multidisciplinary collaboration that focuses on a patient and family-centered care approach to stroke victims and those at risk for stroke.
The Stroke Center provides consultation and evaluation of cerebrovascular- related issues, which include:
- Ischemic strokes
- Hemorrhagic strokes
- Transient ischemic attacks
- AVM (Arteriovenous malformation)
Tests and Diagnosis
Your doctor will perform a complete physical and neurological exam and will:
- Check for problems with vision, movement, sensation, reflexes, understanding, and speaking. Your doctor and nurses will repeat this exam over time to see if your stroke is getting worse or is improving.
- Listen for an abnormal sound, called a "bruit," when using a stethoscope to listen to the carotid arteries in the neck. A bruit is caused by turbulent blood flow.
- Check and assess your blood pressure, which may be high.
The following tests are most conducted and can help your doctor determine the type, location, and cause of the stroke and rule out other disorders that may be responsible for the symptoms.
- A CT (computerized tomography) scan of the brain is often done soon after symptoms of a stroke begin. An MRI scan of the brain may be done instead or afterwards.
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or CT angiography may be done to check for abnormal blood vessels in the brain that may have caused the stroke. • Echocardiogram may be done if the stroke could have been caused by a blood clot from the heart.
- Carotid duplex (a type of ultrasound exam) can show if narrowing of the neck arteries (carotid stenosis) led to the stroke.
- An angiogram of the head can reveal which blood vessel is blocked or bleeding, and help your doctor decide if the artery can be reopened using a thin tube.
- Laboratory tests will include a complete blood count (CBC), bleeding time, and blood clotting tests (prothrombin time or partial thromboplastin time).
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) and heart rhythm monitoring can help determine if an irregular heart beat (such as atrial fibrillation) caused the stroke.
- A spinal tap (cerebrospinal fluid exam) also may be done.
If you’d like more information on strokes or the doctors and services available at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, please call 480-882-4000.