Stroke: Diagnosis

Many doctors use a checklist of questions and tasks called the NIH Stroke Scale to score your alertness and your ability to communicate and perform simple movements.

Your doctor may order blood tests, an electrocardiogram (EKG), or various imaging techniques—including angiograms (using injected contrast dye), computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—to assess stroke damage or future stroke risk.

Other techniques your doctor may use include diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI, a type of MRI), perfusion imaging (to detect blood flow in the brain) and Doppler ultrasound (to measure blood flow and pressure in blood vessels).