An Exploration of the investigations used to diagnose stroke
Methods Used to Diagnose a stroke
There are many different tests that can be carried out to help diagnose a stroke. The main way in which they are found is by using brain imaging so that they are able to pick up any visual issues. Brain imaging allows the doctors to understand whether the stroke was ischemic or hemorrhagic. It also allows them to determine how severe it was. Those who have suffered from a stroke must have a brain scan within 24hours to ensure the best diagnosis can be given to them allowing them to recover much better. Other tests are carried out to help the doctors realise the other smaller effects that the stroke ...view middle of the document...
On the other hand if they struggle to swallow only a few teaspoons they will be referred to a speech and language therapist to enable them to receive a better assessment.
The ultrasound will be used to create images of the neck area to see if there is any blocking or narrowing within the arteries of which are leading towards to brain. An ultrasound scan must have taken place within 48 hours for the best results for the patient.
Catheter angiography is an investigation where a dye is injected into your carotid or vertebral artery allowing the doctors to receive a much more detailed image of the arteries which can be given through a CT or MR angiography.
Echocardiogram can produce images of your heart by using an ultrasound placed on the chest area. It involves an ultrasonic probe which is passed down the oesophagus as it is directly behind the heart consequently allowing a clear image of blood clots to be produced.
Ultrasounds, Catheter angiography and echocardiogram are all tests used to produce images or help work out if a patient has any problems with the heart and/ or the blood vessels. These tests are effective by allowing the causes of the stroke to be better determined.
There are however many problems that can arise when trying to diagnose a stroke especially to the extreme demand of imaging methods and tests that the patient needs to take part in for a true diagnosis to be made
Brain Imaging (CT and MRI)
When having a CT scan of the brain, research has shown that they have very few side effects, however if it is necessary to receive any form of dye there is a possibility of an allergic reaction which under some circumstances can be serious but with the right treatment and medication should clear up well. Also during a CT scan any soft tissue analysis is difficult to evaluate due to lack of magnification given through a CT image, this will also be an issue if the stroke region is too small to be viewed. As of these disadvantages of a CT scanner an MRI scan would produce much more accurate viewings. A CT scan is more available than an MRI but is not available immediately as a computer needs to be used to process the information which takes time.
MRI scans will me a more accurate method of treatment for diagnosing a stroke and other conditions, but takes much longer and its availability in the UK especially in smaller hospitals is limited especially under emergency conditions. MRI scans are extremely helpful they allow doctors to determine which area of the brain is damaged after an ischemic stroke. Like CT scans an MRI has very few/no side effects, it does require a dye to be injected into your arm so a better viewing can be seen. An MRI scan is a long process and may require you to lie in a small space for up to an hour.
CT and MRI scans cost the NHS for each use, a CT scan costs approximately £150, and a MRI scan costs an average of £200 each time it is used. CT scans are carried out...