Tests and Procedures

Tests and Procedures

Several kinds of tests will help determine what kind of stroke you had. This will also help to identify what may have caused your stroke.

Blood tests
These are done on arrival and periodically throughout your stay.

Computed tomography (CT) scan
This is usually done in the Emergency Department. It is likely to be the first test you will have. A CT will take images of your brain to help determine the cause, location and extent of the stroke.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
An MRI can provide sharper, more detailed images of your brain than a CT scan. An MRI may be ordered to can help diagnose smaller or deeper injuries.

Transcranial Doppler (TCD)
A TCD is an ultrasound of the main arteries in your brain. This helps us evaluate the blood flow and detects any clots in your arteries.

Echocardiogram (echo)
An echo is an ultrasound of your heart. It can help determine if any blood clots are forming or likely to form in the heart.

Bedside swallow test
Your nurse will do a quick check to see if you can swallow. This is important to determine whether it is safe for you to eat or drink. If your stroke has affected your swallowing, more testing will be needed to assess your ability to swallow.

If your medical team feels that you are not able to wallow safely, you cannot have any food or drink by mouth. This is called NPO by physicians, meaning “nothing through the mouth.” In this case, you may need a small tube temporarily to receive food and medications. This tube will be inserted by a nurse into your nose and passed down to your stomach. This is only a short-term solution while your speech therapist works with you to strengthen your ability to swallow.