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Tests Used to Confirm a Stroke Diagnosis

Doctor poses for pictureConfirming a stroke diagnosis is the first step in getting patients the emergency care and follow-up services they need. To diagnose a stroke, a physician will conduct a physical examination to assess the patient’s symptoms, followed by a neurological examination to assess the patient’s visual, sensory, and motor capabilities as well as their reflexes and level of consciousness. From there, imaging tests and blood tests are used to further confirm – or rule out – a stroke diagnosis. The most common type of imaging scan used to diagnose a stroke is a CT scan, a simple and effective way for radiologists to look for signs of cerebral circulation obstruction or bleeding near the brain, two common causes of a stroke. However, an MRI, cerebral angiogram, or carotid ultrasound might also be recommended. Additional tests that might be used if a physician suspects a stroke diagnosis include:

  • Blood tests to assess red blood cell, white blood cell, platelet, cholesterol, and glucose levels
  • Blood coagulation tests to check the blood’s ability to properly coagulate
  • An echocardiogram to detect potential blood clots inside the heart and assess how well the heart’s valves and chambers are working

As a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center with the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, Tampa General Hospital has the specialized training and skills necessary to provide complete care for patients who have a stroke diagnosis. Our hospital is equipped with the most advanced laboratory and imaging equipment available, enabling our stroke team to promptly and accurately diagnose both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. We not only offer all of the tests necessary to confirm or rule out a stroke diagnosis, but we also provide a full spectrum of treatments and rehabilitation services for our patients, preventing them from having to seek a transfer to another hospital for a higher level of care at any point during recovery.

Dial 9-1-1 if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a stroke. Receiving prompt care is critical to help avoid long-term damage. Tampa General Hospital offers comprehensive care for patients who have had a stroke diagnosis confirmed, including transfer patients who may have been stabilized at another medical facility.