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    Does a CT scan of the brain detect a stroke?

    Posted by RemakeHealth Staff on Mon, May 02, 2011

    ct scan brain strokeCT scans use ionizing radiation to create images of internal organs. Millions of CT scans are done every year to help detect diseases such as strokes. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to all or part of the brain is interrupted.

    Strokes are commonly caused by atherosclerosis, dissections and vasculitis. A dissection is the tearing of the wall of the artery. This creates a false channel and can slow blood flow through the normal channel. Vasculitis is inflammation of the vessel wall which can also slow or stop blood flow.

    Many small strokes can be "silent" and not noticed or detected by a physical exam. Some strokes quickly resolve on their own and the patient has no neurological deficits. These are called TIAs (transient ischemic attacks). Many strokes are devastating leaving patients with weakness, paralysis, and difficulties with speech and daily living activities.

    Stroke symptoms can include:

    • Weakness
    • Slurred speech
    • Tingling/numbness
    • Droopy face
    • Dizziness/vertigo

    The first line in diagnosing a stroke is the physical exam ususally done in the ER by an ER physician and sometimes a Neurologist. Stroke patients may then get a CT scan of the Brain (Head) to confirm the diagnosis or look for other causes of the symptoms (such as a bleed or tumor).

    A CT scan of the brain is a very good and vital tool in early diagnosis of strokes. The test is fast and accurate. That said, very early strokes or tiny strokes might not be seen by CT. In these cases, an MRI is much more sensitive. MRI scans though take a long time to do and there is limited availability particularly in the middle of the night. In stroke diagnosis and treatment time is of the essence.

    There are new types of CT scanners which can give even more accurate information regarding strokes. These scanners can do what are called "perfusion studies". That is they can tell what parts of the brain have reduced blood flow and are at risk for a larger stroke. However, these scans do require IV dye and deliver higher doses of radiation.

    Medical technology plays an important role in stroke diagnosis. But the key to stroke treatment is recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke and getting to an ER as fast as possible for treatment.

    Please leave your comments below.



    Had the CT Scan twice within 2 years. Both times had a small flush feeling with a salt type taste in my mouth. Went away after 2 minutes and the test was fine with not side affects

    posted @ Monday, May 23, 2011 11:14 PM by Pete

    Had the ct scan 3 months ago and still have the bad taste will it ever go away

    posted @ Saturday, May 28, 2011 2:28 AM by Jan Rickman


    posted @ Wednesday, April 18, 2012 8:43 AM by SAPNA

    does a ct scan and mri show white spots in back of the head means a person is having silent seizures?

    posted @ Wednesday, May 30, 2012 6:40 PM by

    my son had a severe reaction to the contrast dye in the CT scan & and had to be rushed back to the hospital within 2 hours. Severe swelling of the tongue & jerking in both arms, was rushed through emergency & administered adrenalin and antihistamines by IV, very scary - apparently can happen at 2nd or subsequent CTs (he had one previously) We should have been told about the possible reaction, had no idea & could have waited too long !!

    posted @ Sunday, May 05, 2013 4:40 AM by Glenda Bryant

    Had a ct scan of my lungs to indcate if I have a blockage of any sort. I had a I.V. administird with a dye and I hardly could tell that I had any done with me. But wait, now that I am writing this comment, my lungs feel weaker and it appears I have short of breath.

    posted @ Tuesday, July 09, 2013 12:52 PM by Fernando Olano

    I had a cat scan 8 months ago at 
    Women's Hospital...ever since I've 
    had a rash reaction starting at left hand point on injection to my left elbow.Saw dermatologist for  
    6 months..many creams but now blister like bumps are left behind.

    posted @ Saturday, August 24, 2013 5:54 PM by joseph

    it was painful. Somehow or the other, the dye ended up under my skin instead of my veins. The procedure had to be stopped. The thing is, it was done on one hand and when the vein collapsed, it was done on the other hand and the same thing happened. Currently, both of my arms are swollen.

    posted @ Monday, August 26, 2013 9:31 PM by js

    In 2006 i had a ct. scan with dyemy side effect was numness on the rightside of my face shaking in my right hand

    posted @ Tuesday, January 07, 2014 7:37 PM by sharon hale

    Can a CT scan or an MRI be used to determine how long ago a previous stroke took place? 

    posted @ Saturday, June 06, 2015 6:29 PM by Brenda

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