Exams can be done to check for artery blockages or hemorrhages, as well as atherosclerosis. Arteriography is done by inserting a catheter (a thin tube) into cerebral arteries such as the carotid or vertebral arteries. This test gives a better view of the brain vessels by injecting imaging dye into said arteries. X-rays are then taken.
Carotid ultrasound, another arterial diagnostic test, uses high-frequency sound waves (no radiation) to produce live and still shots of the carotid arteries, where atherosclerosis can develop. Artery stenosis, or narrowing, can be measured and blockages can be detected. Ultrasound is a good screening test to determine the risk of an ischemic stroke.
Two different brain exams can detect artery blockages, hemorrhages, and artery malformations. Computerized tomography, also referred to as a “cat scan”, is a form of x-ray that captures 3-dimensional images of the head and neck. It is a good , quick test to diagnose a hemorrhagic stroke. MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, uses a strong magnet (no radiation) to also get 3-D shots of the brain, showing optimal pictures of the brain tissue affected by ischemic stroke.
Ecocardiography, or heart ultrasound, works on the same principle as carotid ultrasound, by taking images with high frequency sound waves. This diagnostic test can determine heart defects such as valve malformations or irregular heart beats, that can cause clots which can travel to the cerebral arteries and cause ischemic strokes. For further reference: http://www.mayoclinic.com.