Learn About Stroke

What do you mean by stroke ?

Stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood vessel inside the brain is either blocked or ruptures. Strokes are the leading cause of long term disability and the second leading cause of death worldwide.

When the stroke occurs due to sudden blockage of the artery, it disrupts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to part of the brain. We refer to them as an “Ischemic” stroke. Approximately 80 percent of strokes are ischemic strokes.

When it occurs due to rupture of blood vessel, often due to uncontrolled blood pressure, a ruptured aneurysm or blood vessel malformation, we call them “Hemorrhagic” strokes.

What happens during an Ischemic stroke and why is it an emergency?

During an ischemic stroke, the sudden blockage in an artery will disrupt blood flow which carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The brain cells (neurons) in the part of the brain supplied by the artery will now be in a state of low oxygen and eventually die. Depending on which part of the brain and how much is affected, you can suffer from different stroke symptoms.

While many other conditions impact patients over months, stroke victims are struck with sudden, potentially life-long paralysis that kills over 2 million brain cells a minute and ages the brain by 3.6 years per hour.

What do you mean by penumbra?

The part of the brain tissue where there is low flow, but irreversible cell death has still not occurred is called “penumbra”.

Fortunately, this gives us a small time window to restore blood flow and thus being able to save brain tissue and minimize disability.

Therefore, it is very important to call 911 if you are experiencing the signs of stroke as you may be eligible for the treatment that can help reduce the disability from the stroke.

What do you mean by a large vessel occlusion stroke ?

LVO stands for large vessel occlusion (blockage) and represents about 10-20 percent of ischemic strokes. As the name suggests, this occurs when one of the larger arteries carrying blood to the brain are involved. As a large part of the brain is involved, they tend cause severe disability and death if untreated.

It is very important to identify patients suffering from these types of strokes as soon as possible as they may benefit from receiving a life saving procedure called mechanical thrombectomy.