Frequently Asked Questions

14. What is a CT scan?

The most commonly used imaging procedure is the computed tomography or CT scan, also known as a “CAT” scan. A CT scan is comprised of a series of cross-sectional images of the head and brain. Because it is readily available at all hours at most major hospitals, produces images quickly, and is good for ruling out hemorrhage prior to starting thrombolytic therapy, CT is the most widely used diagnostic imaging technique for acute stroke.

A CT scan may show evidence of early ischemia – an area of tissue that is dead or dying due to a loss of blood supply. Ischemic strokes generally show up on a CT scan about six to eight hours after the start of stroke symptoms.