At hospital, medical staff carry out assessments to find out what has caused your stroke and to decide on care and treatment.
- Blood pressure tests should be taken immediately. They reveal if high blood pressure may have caused the stroke.
- An electrocardiogram (ECG) can show if an irregular heart beat may have caused the stroke.
- Blood tests examine cholesterol and blood sugar levels and check for clots. They can also check that other parts of the body are healthy enough to cope with any medication that may be prescribed.
You should have a brain scan within 24 hours of their stroke.
This can be:
- a CT or CAT scan, which is an x-ray of the brain, or
- an MRI scan, which is taken in a large tunnel-shaped scanner that uses waves to produce a detailed image of the brain.
Your doctor will ask you to swallow a small amount of water. This swallowing test will show whether the stroke has made it difficult for you to swallow, which could cause you to choke on your food.
- Later on, there may be other tests on the heart and blood vessels to find out what caused your stroke.
Once a stroke has been diagnosed, medical staff will prescribe medication before referring you to a specialist stroke unit or rehabilitation ward.