Your neurologist will perform a physical examination to determine if you've had a stroke. Your examination may include blood or urine tests, an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), electroencephalogram (EEG) or imaging tests.

Imaging tests may include:

  • Arteriography — This shows arteries in the brain that can't be seen in regular X-rays. An arteriogram may be performed if other tests don't reveal the cause of the stroke. Your doctor will make a small incision, usually in your groin, then insert a catheter, which is a flexible, thin tube, carefully through your arteries and into your carotid or vertebral artery.

    Your doctor will then inject a dye into the catheter that helps your cranial arteries appear more clearly in an X-ray image.

  • Carotid Ultrasonography — This machine sends sound waves into the tissues in your neck, which creates images on a screen. These images may reveal narrowing in the carotid arteries.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan — With this test, X-ray beams are used to create a three-dimensional image of the brain, the brain's blood vessels and main blood flow.
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) — This procedure uses a strong magnetic field to show the arteries in the neck and brain.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) — Using a strong magnetic field, an MRI can generate a three-dimensional image of the brain. An MRI is often used to locate an area of the brain that's been damaged by an ischemic stroke.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Neurology and Neurosurgery

Neurovascular Disease and Stroke Center
400 Parnassus Ave., Eighth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-8897
Fax: (415) 353-8705
Appointment information

Neurointerventional Radiology
505 Parnassus Ave., Third Floor, Room M-327
San Francisco, CA 94143
Consultation: (415) 353-1863
Scheduling: (415) 353-1869
Fax: (415) 353-8606
Appointment information