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The UMMC Stroke Center offers all the advanced diagnostics tests required for designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

CT (Computed tomography): A CT scan provides very detailed x-ray images of the brain. It is commonly the first diagnostic test performed on suspected stroke patients at UMMC. It shows if an area of the brain has been affected by a blockage or a bleed.

MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging uses magnets and radio waves to create an image of the brain. It can show changes in cell tissue, including any damage to brain cells.

Labs: Blood work may be ordered to check kidney function and to see if the body is creating a normal number of platelets that help with clotting. A test to see how quickly blood clots may also be ordered.

CTA (Computed tomography angiography): This test combines CT scanning with injections of contrast dye to create a picture of the blood vessels and tissues of the brain. It plays a role in finding the location of any blood clots in the brain.

CTP (Computed tomography perfusion): Like CTA, this test combines CT scanning with injections of contrast dye. The test shows blood flow in the brain and whether or not an area of the brain is getting enough blood. The test is used to plan treatment for complex cases.

MRA (Magnetic resonance angiography): This test is a type of MRI that focuses on blood vessels. It can show both blood flow and the tissues of the blood vessels.

Catheter angiography: In this advanced test, a small catheter (thin tube) is inserted into the patient’s blood vessels, usually through a vein in the groin or wrist, and advanced into the blood vessels of the brain. It is used in combination with a dye that helps physicians see the blood vessels in the images produced during the test. It is often used to find the location of bleeding in the brain causing a hemorrhagic stroke. To qualify as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, this test must be available 24/7.

Cranial and carotid duplex ultrasound: Ultrasound tests use sound waves to produce images. A cranial ultrasound looks at blood flow in the brain’s major arteries. A carotid ultrasound is used to look for blockages or narrowing in the major blood vessels of the neck. Ultrasound tests show images in real time.

TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram): This test is used to look for areas in the heart that may be creating blood clots that are breaking free and traveling through the bloodstream into the brain. The test uses sound waves to create images.

TTE (transthoracic echocardiogram): Similar to a TEE, this test uses soundwaves to examine the heart for areas that may be forming blood clots. While both tests do similar things, one may be more appropriate than the other depending on a patient’s age and medical history.