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Acute Stroke Diagnosis

The Barnes-Jewish & Washington University Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center, the first in St. Louis to be certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, is the busiest in the region and is nationally recognized for its excellence in diagnosing and treating acute stroke patients.

When patients come to the emergency room with symptoms of stroke, the first step is rapid and accurate diagnosis of the type of stroke and severity. A CT (computed tomography) scan is done immediately, which is the main test used to determine the type of stroke a patient is having. Blood also is drawn and immediately sent for testing.

In addition, one or more of the following imaging tests may be performed:

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

  • CTA (computed tomographic angiography)

  • MRA (magnetic resonance angiography)

These procedures are carried out to evaluate if a patient is a candidate for tPA, a blood clot dissolving drug that is very effective at stopping or even reversing a stroke. However, for tPA to be effective, it must be given within 4.5 hours from the time of the first symptom. Barnes-Jewish & Washington University Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to streamline the diagnosis protocol and administer tPA treatment even faster than the national average.

These procedures also are used to evaluate if a patient is a candidate for intra-arterial intervention, a procedure that removes the clot that has caused the stroke. Intra-arterial intervention can only be performed at Comprehensive Level 1 Stroke Centers with interventional neurologists and neurosurgeons. The Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center has been participating in clinical trials of intra-arterial intervention devices. We are the most experienced intra-arterial prevention providers within 300 miles of St. Louis.

If you suspect stroke, call 9-1-1 to activate rapid response services and transport to a Stroke Network hospital.

To find out more about the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Stroke Center, call 855.925.0631.

2023 Best Hospitals - Neurology and Neurosurgery

#17 in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

2023 High Performance Badge - Stroke

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 866.867.3627
General Information: 314.747.3000
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St. Louis, MO 63110
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