Diagnosing Stroke

Brain Image

A computed tomography perfusion scan (CT perfusion) of the brain shows reduced blood flow to certain areas.

Neuroradiology (Imaging of the Brain)

The neuro-imaging group of the Froedtert & the Medical College Radiology Department has earned an international reputation for excellence. In close collaboration with GE Healthcare, the Radiology Department utilizes the latest computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging technology available. The department’s team teaches these advanced applications to healthcare professionals from across the globe.

Acute Imaging – Immediate Information When Seconds Count

For conditions like stroke and aneurysm when rapid diagnosis and treatment are vital, we offer comprehensive access to the emergency tests needed. These “first-line” tests of brain function and blood flow include:

  • “Fast MRI, ” rapid magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)  methods, to quickly provide cross-sectional images of the brain
  • Diffusion MRI, to rapidly help diagnose a stroke by showing regions in the brain where blood flow is impaired.
  • STAT (immediate) computerized tomography (CT) scanning, both CT angiography and CT perfusion, to help assess blood flow within the brain

Advanced Stroke and Neurovascular Imaging

In addition to “first-line” imaging, we use the most advanced diagnostic tools to provide additional, critical information about the location and complexity of stroke and other neurovascular conditions.

Tools for imaging of blood vessels and blood flow include:

  • CT angiography, which combines a CT scan with an injection of a special dye to produce pictures of blood vessels and tissues in the neck and brain. CT angiography is used to help locate aneurysms, narrowed or blocked blood vessels and abnormal blood vessel formations.
  • CT perfusion, another CT scan technique, used to evaluate blood flow
  • Catheter angiography (diagnostic catheter cerebral angiogram or spinal angiogram), which produces high-resolution images of the blood vessels of the head and neck or spine. This is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small catheter is placed in the arteries that serve the head and the neck. Dye is injected and images are taken to show blood vessel anatomy and blood flow.
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), which uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to create two- or three-dimensional images of the blood vessel anatomy of the head and neck
  • Transcranial Doppler (TCD), an ultrasound procedure that examines the blood circulation within the brain
  • Carotid ultrasound, used to assess blood flow in the carotid arteries of the neck

Tools for imaging of brain function include:

Cardiac Imaging

Transthoracic echocardiograms (TTE) and transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE) are used to assess the heart. A malfunction of the heart can contribute to stroke.