WITHIN the past decade, dramatic advances have been made in imaging and ultrasound technology. These new capabilities have led to better understanding of the pathophysiologic characteristics of various subtypes of stroke. The ability to safely visualize in vivo the brain and blood vessels and to analyze blood flow has improved physicians' ability to diagnose the causes and mechanisms of their patients' strokes, to more accurately prognosticate, and to more rationally choose treatment. Unfortunately, this revolution in knowledge and technological capability has been so rapid that the average generalist caring for stroke patients has often not been able to keep up with the progress or to translate advances into practical patient management. I hope to share in this review the questions the physician should ask and, with the help of patient examples, to suggest an approach to the evaluation and management of stroke patients.
WHAT SUBTYPE OF STROKE DOES THE PATIENT