Diagnosis

Know the Signs

F.A.S.T. can help you learn how to spot the symptoms of stroke.

If you have a stroke, the faster you receive treatment, the greater the chances of making a more complete recovery. The first step is determining if your symptoms mean you are having a stroke. The New Hanover Regional Medical Center Stroke Program provides fast and accurate diagnosis of stroke so you can quickly receive the treatment you need.

Our team of stroke specialists use the following diagnostic tools to quickly assess your condition:

CT (Computerized Tomography)

A CT scanner is a doughnut-shaped, precise imaging machine used to see if stroke symptoms are caused by bleeding or a clot. CT allows for very detailed pictures of your bones, brain, fluid-filled spaces and blood vessels. Sometimes, a stroke caused by a blood clot (ischemic) will not be seen on the CT scan for several hours or even days.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) 

MRI uses strong magnetic and radio waves to take pictures of the organs and structures inside of your body. MRA uses strong magnetic and radio waves to take pictures of your blood vessels, including carotid arteries. Both MRI and MRA show detailed pictures of where damage to your brain might be located.

Carotid Duplex 

A carotid duplex is an ultrasound test that checks the carotid arteries for signs of plaque, or obstructed blood flow. This ultrasound is fast and painless. If a blockage is found, additional testing may be needed.

Echocardiogram (Echo) 

An echocardiogram uses sound waves (ultrasound) to produce moving pictures of your heart to see how the blood flows and how well the heart pumps.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) 

This type of echocardiogram is performed by a probe inserted down your throat and into your esophagus. It shows the size and shape of the heart and how well the chambers and valves are working. It gives a closer and clearer picture of the heart.