Diagnosis

Stroke and TIAs produce signs and symptoms of one of a number of possible underlying disease processes (i.e. atherosclerosis, haemorrhage). We need to identify these to minimise brain damage and prevent recurrence. We assess the stroke patient with a thorough History and Neurological Examination and a non contrast head CT scan. CT imaging will help to distinguish between an infarct and a haemorrhagic stroke- bleeding is shown within or around the brain. If no bleeding is seen, a presumptive diagnosis of ischaemic stroke is made.

 

Other Investigations:

A Doppler ultrasound study of the carotid arteries (to detect stenosis) or dissection.

An electrocardiogram and echo (to identify arrhythmias and resultant clots in the heart which may embolise).

A Holter monitor study to identify intermittent arrhythmias.

An Angiogram of the cerebral vasculature (if a bleed is thought to have originated from an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation.)

Blood tests to determine hypercholesterolemia, bleeding diathesis and some rarer causes such as homocysteinuria.

 

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