In the evaluation of stroke itâ€™s critical for the treating physician to know what type of stroke has occurred because it affects what type of treatment is given. As radiologists, one of the key pieces of information that we can provide to a doctor taking care of a stroke patient, is whether the type of stroke that that patient has suffered is one that we call an ischemic stroke, or one that we call a hemorrhagic stroke. With an ischemic stroke, not enough blood is getting to the brain, and that might be helped by a blood thinner. With a hemorrhagic stroke, the patient has already suffered a bleed in the brain and a blood thinner might make that condition worse.
Two of the most commonly used radiology tests for stroke patients are CT and MRI. CT scans also known as CAT scans, produce an image of the brain that can show areas of excessive bleeding or blocked blood flow. The test is very quick, which allows for rapid treatment if a problem is found. MRI scans can detect minute brain abnormalities which are too small or located in regions of the brain that cannot be seen well by CAT scans.
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