Physical and Neurological Exams
One of the first tests done once a stroke patient enters the hospital is a physical exam. A physical exam encompasses a wide variety of tests including measuring your blood pressure, testing your reflexes, analyzing your eye movements, and your breathing. A physical exam is important because it gives physicians a general idea of how severe the physical effects are of your stroke. Although physical exams are done for many events requiring a hospital visit, in a neurological function, physical deficits are important as they can even indicate which areas of the brain have been affected.
Neurological exams are also preliminary tests done on stroke patients. They give physicians a sense of how you have been affected by your stroke, as well as what areas of the brain may have been affected. Neurological exams focus more closely on your thinking, behavior, emotion, memory, senses, and motion. There are many different neurological exams, which may focus on one or more of the features listed. During these tests, you may be asked to do various tasks, ranging from drawing the face of a clock, to remembering a group of words, to telling a story. Although these tests may appear silly, rest assured they have been validated to accurately assess your situation and can help a physician to develop the best course of rehabilitation.
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment is a popular neurological examination used to assess deficits in cognition in stroke patients.