The British National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke (NCGS) recommends that brain imaging be performed on stroke patients within 24 hours of symptom onset unless there are specific contraindications to do so. In addition, some patients should have the brain imaging done as soon as possible if certain conditions are present.


Coagulation-related indications:

(1) The patient is currently being treated with anticoagulants.

(2) The patient has a known bleeding tendency.

(3) The patient has indications for thrombolysis or early anticoagulation.


Symptomatic indications:

(1) The patient has a depressed level of consciousness.

(2) The patient has papilloedema, neck stiffness or fever.

(3) The patient has a severe headache at onset of symptoms.

(4) Symptoms are unexplained, progressive or fluctuating.

(5) The patient deteriorates unexpectedly.


Normally a CT scan is done first, with an MRI done if there is uncertainty as to the diagnosis of stroke or the exact pathology.


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.