Medical personnel should perform immediate diagnostic tests for patients presumed to have acute ischemic stroke, according to Activase.com. These diagnostic tests include non-contrast brain computerized tomography scans or brain magnetic resonance imaging and a complete blood count. Selected patients require tests such as toxicology screening and hepatic function tests.
People who have had stroke or transient ischemic attacks require brain imaging to ascertain the extent of the carotid artery narrowing, says the U.K.'s NICE. If symptoms of TIA have subsided in these patients, a specialist should first assess the person to determine the necessity of brain imaging. MRI tests and CT scans for ischemia help to provide evidence for early signs of bleeding, infarction or vessel thrombosis, notes the American Heart Association.
Doctors should carry out complete blood counts on all patients suspected to have ischemic stroke in order to exclude alternative diagnoses such as hypoglycemia. The blood count should include tests such as platelet count, cardiac markers and prothrombin time, says the AHA. Elevated cardiac markers, for instance, signify increased severity of stroke and mortality risk.
Medical personnel should carry out toxicological screens for young patients suspected to have stroke to identify the underlying cause. Additionally, women of childbearing age require a pregnancy test, according to the AHA.