Screenings and diagnosis

In addition to a physical exam and patient history, the Edward-Elmhurst Health neurosciences team uses a variety of screenings and diagnostic procedures to help prevent, detect, diagnose, manage and treat neurological diseases.

You can receive many of these tests in your doctor’s office or at one of our outpatient facilities. You can also complete a StrokeAware assessment online — in the comfort of your own home — to determine if you’re at risk for a stroke.

Learn more about screenings and diagnosis for the following:

Stroke and vascular

If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or if you smoke, consider that 700,000 Americans have a stroke each year; 157,000 will die from it; and nearly 210,000 are under the age of 65. Stroke is a leading cause of disability, which could be devastating to you and your family.

Find out if you’re at risk for a stroke with these screening options:

5-minute StrokeAware test

Anyone can have a stroke, regardless of age, sex or race. Our online HealthAware assessments take about five minutes and provide a quick response about your health, as well as action steps if you are identified as being at risk.

Know your risk. Take our free, five-minute StrokeAware test. It could save your life.

Stroke and vascular screening

When plaque builds up in the arteries and blocks blood flow to the heart, it causes a heart attack. Plaque build-up can also block blood flow to the brain, causing a "brain attack" or stroke. Aneurysm occurs when the blood vessel wall weakens, causing the artery to bulge.

It takes less than an hour to undergo a stroke and vascular screening that detect these problems.

  • Aortic aneurysm screening – This involves an ultrasound of your largest blood vessel, partially located in the abdomen.
  • Carotid artery disease screening – This involves an ultrasound of the main artery in your neck which leads to the brain.
  • Peripheral artery disease screening – This is performed by measuring blood pressure at your ankle and arms to check the flow of blood into your legs.

Each test is painless, takes only about 10 minutes and is performed by a registered vascular technologist.

To schedule your stroke and vascular screening, call 877-454-3278 for Edward or 331-221-5420 for Elmhurst.

Stroke risk factors: Who should have a stroke and vascular screening?

Men age 45 or older and women age 55 or older, and those who have one or more of the following risk factors should consider getting screened:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Relative who had a stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes or fasting blood sugar greater than 100
  • Circulatory problems
  • Obesity
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Leg pain


Angiography is a test used to detect blockages of the arteries or veins. A cerebral angiogram can detect the degree of narrowing or obstruction of an artery or blood vessel in the brain, head or neck. It is used to diagnose stroke and to determine the location and size of a brain tumor, aneurysm or vascular malformation.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Biopsy involves the removal and examination of a small piece of tissue from the body. Muscle or nerve biopsies are used to diagnose neuromuscular disorders and may also reveal if a person is a carrier of a defective gene that could be passed on to their children.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

CSF analysis

Cerebrospinal fluid analysis involves the removal of a small amount of the fluid that protects the brain and spinal cord. The fluid is tested to detect any bleeding or brain hemorrhage, diagnose infection to the brain and/or spinal cord, identify some cases of multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions, and measure intracranial pressure.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

CT scan

Computed tomography, also known as a CT scan, is a noninvasive, painless test used to produce rapid, clear two-dimensional images of organs, bones and tissues. Neurological CT scans are used to view the brain and spine. They can detect bone and vascular irregularities, certain brain tumors and cysts, herniated discs, epilepsy, encephalitis, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), a blood clot or intracranial bleeding in patients with stroke, brain damage from head injury, and other disorders.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Electroencephalography, or EEG, monitors brain activity through the skull. EEG is used to help diagnose certain seizure disorders, brain tumors, brain damage from head injuries, inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord, alcoholism, certain psychiatric disorders, and metabolic and degenerative disorders that affect the brain.

Electromyography, or EMG, is used to diagnose nerve and muscle dysfunction and spinal cord disease. It records electrical activity from the brain and/or spinal cord to a peripheral nerve root (found in the arms and legs) that controls muscles during contraction and at rest. An EMG is usually done in conjunction with a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test, which measures electrical energy by assessing the nerve’s ability to send a signal.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Evoked potentials

Evoked potentials (also called evoked response) measure the electrical signals to the brain generated by hearing, touch or sight. These tests are used to assess sensory nerve problems and confirm neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis, brain tumor, acoustic neuroma (small tumors of the inner ear) and spinal cord injury.

  • Auditory evoked potentials (also called brain stem auditory evoked response) are used to assess high-frequency hearing loss, diagnose any damage to the acoustic nerve and auditory pathways in the brainstem, and detect acoustic neuromas.
  • Visual evoked potentials detect loss of vision from optic nerve damage (in particular, damage caused by multiple sclerosis).
  • Somatosensory evoked potentials measure response from stimuli to the peripheral nerves and can detect nerve or spinal cord damage or nerve degeneration from multiple sclerosis and other degenerating diseases.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses computer-generated radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to produce detailed images of body structures including tissues, organs, bones and nerves. Neurological uses include the diagnosis of brain and spinal cord tumors, eye disease, inflammation, infection, and vascular irregularities that may lead to stroke. MRI can also detect and monitor degenerative disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, and can document brain injury from trauma.

Functional MRI (fMRI) uses the blood’s magnetic properties to produce real-time images of blood flow to particular areas of the brain. This imaging process is used to assess brain damage from head injury or degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and to identify and monitor other neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis, stroke and brain tumors.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Myelography involves the injection of a water- or oil-based contrast dye into the spinal canal to enhance X-ray imaging of the spine. Myelograms are used to diagnose spinal nerve injury, herniated discs, fractures, back or leg pain, and spinal tumors.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke