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Early testing after stroke

An ambulance will take you straight to a hospital where you should be assessed as a priority.  Early testing after stroke will help identify what sort of stroke you have had and help guide your treatment.

Early testing after stroke: The tests organised by your doctor will be different for everybody, but common tests include:

Brain Scan: A Computer Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are tests that tell where your stroke has happend in the brain and what type of stroke it was. CT should occur for all stroke patients in the first 24 hours after a stroke. Your doctor can talk to you about the results of your scan.

Blood tests: These are done to check clotting ability of your blood, whether you have anaemia (low iron in blood), possible inflammation or to test blood chemistry (like levels of potassium or glucose).

Heart tests: These may include a test for abnormal heart rhythm or heart disease (electrocardiogram). It may also include an ultrasound to check for a clot or enlargement of a chamber of your heart (echocardiogram). An electrocardiogram is recommended for all stroke patients.

Neurological tests: Ultrasound, MRI or angiogram (dye test) look for clots or narrowing of the main arteries in your neck (carotid artery).

Other tests: Urine tests or chest X-rays may also be done to check for infection or other disease. Routine observations will also be taken regularly to monitor your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, blood sugar levels, oxygen levels and breathing pattern.

It is important that you ask questions during early testing after stroke, to help you understand the tests you have and the results. For example:

What        What is the test for and why is it being done?
Who         Who will be doing it?
When       When will I find out how it went?
Explain    Who will explain the results to me and/or my family?