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What is better to detect a stroke a CT scan or an MRI? Possibility of having permanent side effects?

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Radiologist
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 33 Questions
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Hi, I was in the er last week for symptoms of a suspected stroke. I followed up with my pcp yesterday and I am going to get another mri as a follow up. However, I wanted to ask what is better to detect a stroke overall a ct or an mri? Also, which one is better than the other in regards to hours and days past a suspected stroke? Like I know sometimes CTs are better at detecting bleeding but will an mri do that as well. Also, how much risk is radiation for CT because I have had I think 4 or 5 head cts I think in the past so far? Is that alot in your opinion? Also, the last time I came out of an Mri I felt a little off and tired and just wondering if you can have permanent side effects from an mri?

I wasn't sure if i I am contacting the right specialist for this question it was between a neurologist surgical and a radiologist but if a radiologist can answer better please can you transfer this question to them.
Thanks so much.
Posted Tue, 7 Aug 2012 in X-ray, Lab tests and Scans
 
 
Answered by Dr. Ranjeet Jagdale 14 hours later
Hello,

Thanks for posting your query.

Anytime, MRI is better than CT for evaluation of stroke.

Only when the patient is very sick a CT scan is done as it takes less time and cannot detect bleed easily.

MRI is still better for detection of blood in any stage especially with newer hardware developments and newer imaging sequences.

Numbers of CT scan you have undergone are on a higher side but if your clinical condition warrants CT, do not worry about the radiation dose. It is higher but not very alarming.

MRI has no permanent side effects, you feel tired because of constant noise, longer duration of scan and some amount of claustrophobia probably.

So do not worry and go ahead and get MRI done if your doctor has advised you.

Please do write back in case you have follow up queries to ask.

Good luck
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