BACKGROUND: Stroke is a devastating condition encompassing a wide range of pathophysiological entities that include thrombosis, hemorrhage, and embolism. Current diagnosis of stroke relies on physician clinical examination and is further supplemented with various neuroimaging techniques. A single set or multiple sets of blood biomarkers that could be used in an acute setting to diagnosis stroke, differentiate between stroke types, or even predict an initial/reoccurring stroke would be extremely valuable. CONTENT: We discuss the current classification, diagnosis, and treatment of stroke, focusing on use of novel biomarkers (either solitary markers or multiple markers within a panel) that have been studied in a variety of clinical settings. SUMMARY: The current diagnosis of stroke remains hampered and delayed due to lack of a suitable mechanism for rapid (ideally point-of-care), accurate, and analytically sensitive biomarker-based testing. There is a clear need for further development and translational research in this area. Potential biomarkers identified need to be transitioned quickly into clinical validation testing for further evaluation in an acute stroke setting; to do so would impact and improve patient outcomes and quality of life.