What are the goals of the neurologic exam for ischemic stroke?

Updated: May 27, 2020
  • Author: Edward C Jauch, MD, MS, FAHA, FACEP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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With the availability of fibrinolytic and endovascular therapies for acute ischemic stroke in selected patients, the physician must be able to perform a brief but accurate neurologic examination on patients with suspected stroke syndromes. The goals of the neurologic examination include the following:

  • Confirming the presence of a stroke syndrome

  • Distinguishing stroke from stroke mimics

  • Establishing a neurologic baseline (including documenting an NIH Stroke Scale) should the patient's condition improve or deteriorate

  • Establishing stroke severity to assist in prognosis and therapeutic selection (based on potential disability due to current neurologic deficits)

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