In order to evaluate the patient’s medical condition and achieve an accurate, reliable diagnosis,
the medical team can employ a number of tests. During the patient’s hospital stay, and based on his or her condition, the team will decide what tests should be performed and when.
- Brain CT: an x-ray test performed by computerized scanning of the brain. Permits the diagnosis of the type of stroke (hemorrhage or infarction). The test can be performed with or without the injection of radiocontrast material, based on need and the doctor’s decision. Radiocontrast material assists in imaging blood vessels.
- MRI: an imaging test based on magnetic fields and radio waves. This is an additional tool to diagnose the cerebral damage.
- EEG: this test examines the brain’s electrical activity by the use of electrodes attached to the scalp.
- Dopler test: ultra sound imaging of the neck arteries. Checks the quality and speed of blood flow in the neck arteries in order to locate stenosis or blockage. The information obtained is important for making decisions as to future treatment.
- TCD: intracranial Doppler test. Evaluates the condition of the blood vessels inside the brain and the speed of blood flow in them. Similar to the Doppler test, but addresses blood vessels in the brain rather than the neck.
- Echocardiography: a test that examines the heart cavities with sound waves, with the purpose of ruling out pathologies that can send clots or emboli to the brain.
- TEE: echocardiography performed through the esophagus. Permits more accurate imaging of the heart and large blood vessels of the chest with sound waves. This test can locate emboli coming from the heart or caused by unidentified congenital defects. It is performed in special cases at the heart institute by local anesthesia of the pharynx, and if needed by the administration of a tranquilizer that causes slight fogginess.
- Holter monitor: an EKG device that records heart pace over a long period (24 to 48 hours) allowing the identification of such disorders as atrial fibrillation that cannot be seen on a routine one-time EKG.
Devices in the intensive / increased care unit that assist in evaluating the patient ’s medical condition and warn about changes:
- Monitor: assists in constant tracking of heart activity. Connection to monitor is done with 3 to 5 wires attached to the chest with stickers.
- Saturation meter: can test oxygen saturation in the blood. Connected to the finger or ear with wires. Oxygen saturation should approach 100% in nonsmokers and is lower in smokers