Diagnosis tests & processes

Neurological conditions can be complicated to diagnose. One or more tests may be required to confirm – or rule out – a diagnosis. If your GP or other healthcare professional recommends you be tested for a neurological condition, they will likely refer you to a neurologist; a medical doctor who specialises in diseases of the nervous system.

Your specialist will do a thorough physical exam and document your medical history. Further tests may then be ordered, and these can include any of the following.

Diagnostic Tests

Arteriogram, or angiogram

This is an X-ray of arteries and veins, often used to diagnose stroke. This test aims to find blockages or narrowing of the vessels.

CAT scan

CAT stands for ‘computed tomography’ and involves X-rays and computer technology to provide detailed images of the body. It is used to diagnose a range of neurological conditions.

Electrodiagnostic tests

These involve the use of electrodes to test electrical activity and response in muscle groups.


Also known as an EEG. This test looks at the electrical activity of the brain.

Evoked potentials

These tests record the electrical response in the brain to stimuli.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

This technology uses large magnets, radio frequencies and a computer to create detailed images of the organs and anatomy.


In this procedure, a dye is injected into the spinal canal to make its structure visible on X-rays.


This test uses high-frequency sound waves to allow for analysis of blood flow and is used in cases where stroke is suspected.

Spinal tap / lumbar puncture

In this test, a small sample of cerebral fluid is drawn from the lower spine to test for infection or other abnormalities.


Also called sonography, this technique uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of internal organs and assess the blood flow through the body’s vessels.