Ischemic stroke

 

Definition of an ischemic stroke

Definition of an ischemic stroke

 

An ischemic stroke is a blockage in an artery that carries blood to the brain which may lead to the death of brain cells. The blockage may either be caused by a clot which has formed or a fatty deposit which has broken loose and traveled to the smaller arteries in the brain where it has wedged and prevents blood flow to an area of brain tissue.

An ischemic stroke is a medical emergency that can cause irreversible damage to the brain and, in many cases, death. An ischemic stroke is a time-critical emergency medical condition. For immediate emergency care, the emergency medical services can be reached by dialing either 911 (American emergency number), 112 (European emergency number) or the emergency number of the country you are staying in.

Over 16 million strokes occurring worldwide every year, resulting in more than 5 million deaths and an additional 5 million survivors with severe disabilities.

 

 

Symptoms of an ischemic stroke

Symptoms of an ischemic stroke

 

Since an ischemic stroke is a time-critical medical emergency, comma it is important to recognize the warning signs of an ischemic stroke and act to get medical attention immediately. Common warning signs include but are not limited to the following:

  • Muscle weakness, facial droop, paralysis of a limb (usually on one side of the body)
  • loss of feeling or numbness of parts of the face or of limbs
  • loss of vision in one eye, loss of half of the visual field in each eye, or double vision
  • trouble speaking and/or understanding what is heard
  • balance problems or coordination challenges
  • alertness problems/confusion
  • a severe and intense headache
  • nausea and/or vomiting

 

Treatments for ischemic stroke

 

The goal of treatment for an ischemic stroke is to restore normal blood flow to the brain by removing the blockage. Once a diagnosis of ischemic stroke is confirmed, a drug-based intravenous thrombolysis treatment may be provided to the patient in an attempt to dissolve the clot. An endovascular treatment called a thrombectomy may also be performed for large vessel occlusions (when a clot blocks a major artery and cuts off flow to large sections of the brain). A thrombectomy procedure may be done in conjunction with the drug-based therapy or without. A thrombectomy procedure involves the neuro interventional surgeon to endovascularly thread a wire and catheter up to the clot, place a specialized stent in the clot called a stent retriever, and use this to remove the clot from the artery. Additionally, a separate catheter called an aspiration catheter may be used to remove the clot. The number of thrombectomy procedures performed each year has grown significantly since 2015 as a result of several randomized controlled trials which proved the effectiveness of these procedures.