What is included in the physical exams for posterior cerebral artery (PCA) stroke?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: Erek K Helseth, MD; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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A complete neurologic examination is essential in any patient presenting with acute neurologic symptoms and aids in confirming the diagnosis of stroke and localizing the disorder.

When patients present early and may be eligible for acute stroke therapies, a standardized and abridged examination is recommended. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Stroke Scale is a validated assessment commonly used as a guide to patient selection for acute stroke therapies. The complete neurologic examination may follow the abridged examination when appropriate.

The physical examination should encompass a cardiologic and vascular examination, searching for arterial bruits, murmurs that suggest valvular heart disease, and signs of atrial fibrillation. Other physical stigmata, if seen, may demonstrate a propensity for atherosclerosis, including corneal arcus or tendinous xanthoma.

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