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All about the stroke different stroke types ischemic stroke thrombotic stroke embolic stroke transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini stroke hemorrhagic stroke intracerebral hemorrhage subarachnoid hemorrhage causes of stroke stroke symptoms stroke risk factors diagnosis of stroke treatment for stroke stroke medications stroke prevention surgical treatments for stroke recovery from stroke stroke rehabilitation

How is a stroke diagnosed?

Stroke is diagnosed through several techniques: a short neurological examination, blood tests, CT scans (without contrast enhancements) or MRI scans, Doppler ultrasound, and arteriography. Stroke seems to run in some families. Family members may have a genetic tendency for stroke or share a lifestyle that contributes to stroke. The most important risk factors for stroke are hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and cigarette smoking. Other risks include heavy alcohol

consumption, high blood cholesterol levels, illicit drug use, and genetic or congenital conditions. Some risk factors for stroke apply only to women. Primary among these are pregnancy, childbirth, and the menopause and treatment thereof (HRT).

CT Scan - This technique is usually the first test done when a patient comes to a hospital emergency room with stroke symptoms. The test uses low-dose X-rays to show an image of the brain and it can determine whether a stroke is caused by a blockage or a bleed, and the size and location of the stroke. The test is painless.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - This device uses magnetic fields to detect subtle changes in brain tissue. MRI is useful when the stroke involves small blood vessels. This takes longer to perform than a CT scan and is not as accurate in determining the presence of a bleed. The painless test is done without entering the body and takes between 30 and 90 minutes.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography - Brain surgeons use this technique to detect a blockage of the brain and to map the blood flow in the skull. It gives an accurate picture of cerebral blood vessels. The test is similar in experience to an MRI and does not involve entering the body.

Transcranial Doppler - This is a portable test that can be performed at the bedside to assess blood flow through the vessels in the brain. A small probe is placed against the skull.

Doppler Ultrasound - This is a painless, noninvasive test in which waves of sound above the range of human hearing are sent into the neck. Echoes from the waves bounce off the moving blood and tissue and are formed into an image. It is fast, painless and risk-free but is not as accurate as an Arteriography.

Carotid Ultrasound - This test is conducted without entering the body and it evaluates the blood flow of the carotid arteries. Gel is used on the skin to send an ultrasound signal and a computer can calculate how fast the blood is traveling. This helps doctors determine how narrow an artery has become.

Arteriography - This is an X-ray of the carotid artery taken when a special dye is injected. This technique carries its own small risk of causing a stroke and it's expensive, but it is a reliable way to measure blockage of the carotid arteries. Some people may experience a sensation of pressure or warmth. It involves insertion of a catheter into a blood vessel.

More information on the stroke

What is a stroke? - Stroke (cerebrovascular accident) is a sudden loss of consciousness resulting when the rupture or occlusion of a blood vessel leads to oxygen lack in the brain.
What're the different types of strokes? - There are two main types of stroke. Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding.
What is ischemic stroke? - Ischemic stroke is the most common type. Ischemic stroke can further be divided into two main types: thrombotic and embolic.
What is a thrombotic stroke? - Thrombotic strokes are strokes caused by a thrombus (blood clot) that develops in the arteries supplying blood to the brain.
What is an embolic stroke? - Embolic strokes often result from heart disease or heart surgery and occur rapidly and without any warning signs.
What's transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini stroke? - A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is often called a mini stroke. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a transient stroke that lasts only a few minutes.
What is hemorrhagic stroke? - In hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding in the brain itself or between the brain and the skull (subarachnoid hemorrhage) disrupts brain function.
What is an intracerebral hemorrhage? - Intracerebral hemorrhage is usually caused by hypertension (high blood pressure), and bleeding occurs suddenly and rapidly.
What is a subarachnoid hemorrhage? - Subarachnoid hemorrhage results when bleeding occurs between the brain and the meninges in the subarachnoid space.
What causes a stroke? - Stroke caused by damage to blood vessels in the brain. The ischemic stroke is usually caused by atherosclerosis (hardening) of blood vessels.
What are the symptoms of a stroke? - The symptoms of a stroke depend on what part of the brain and how much of the brain tissue is affected. Stroke symptoms usually come on suddenly.
What are the risk factors for a stroke? - Risk factors for a stroke include high blood pressure (hypertension), atherosclerosis, cigarette smoking, atrial fibrillation, diabetes.
How is a stroke diagnosed? - Stroke is diagnosed through several techniques: a short neurological examination, blood tests, CT scans or MRI scans, Doppler ultrasound, and arteriography.
What's the treatment for a stroke? - The aim of the therapy is to minimise the size of the stroke and therefore minimise subsequent disability by restoring blood flow to the area of the brain affected quickly.
What medications can be used for stroke treatment? - Intravenous thrombolytics. clot-busting, or thrombolytic drugs are now administered intravenously for ischemic (not hemorrhagic) stroke.
What can be done to prevent a stroke? - Prevention of stoke is an important public health concern. Medication or drug therapy is the most common method of stroke prevention.
What're the surgical treatments for stroke? - Surgical treatments for stroke include carotid endarterectomy, angioplasty, clipping. Clipping involves clamping off the aneurysm.
How to recover from a stroke? - Spontaneous recovery accounts for most improvements in the first month after a stroke. Successful recovery after a stroke depends on the extent of brain damage.
What is stroke rehabilitation? - Stroke rehabilitation is the process by which patients with disabling strokes undergo treatment to help them return to normal life.
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