How can magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) help diagnose stroke?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field to take highly detailed pictures of soft tissues such as the brain and heart. Subtle variations show up clearly, so that an ischemic stroke, tumor, or blood clot is visible against the surrounding healthy tissue. MRI can document the extent and location of an ischemic stroke deep inside the brain within minutes of its onset. It can precisely distinguish infarcted (permanently damaged) brain from blood-starved brain at risk of infarction (death of an area of tissue from lack of oxygen). It can also detect intracerebral bleeding, although most physicians prefer to get this information from CT scans (or CT angiography [CTA] scans, if they are available) because they're quicker and easier to do.

Continue Learning about Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

What are side effects of contrast agents used in MRI scans?
Anthony L. Komaroff, MDAnthony L. Komaroff, MD
Not all magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans require contrast agents, but a contrast agent is ...
More Answers
What would my doctor use a prostate MRI for?
UCLA HealthUCLA Health
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) aids in evaluation of the prostate in up to four different ways: an...
More Answers
Is cardiac stress magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) safe?
Intermountain HealthcareIntermountain Healthcare
Cardiac stress magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests are generally very safe. Potential complic...
More Answers
What to Expect From an MRI
What to Expect From an MRI

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.