Information about Strokes

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when there are insufficient levels of oxygen in the brain and the affected parts of the brain begin to die. This can occur in two ways. Ischemic strokes occur due to a clot in the brain that blocks a blood vessel and disrupts blood flow. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weak spot in a blood vessel, known as an aneurysm, bursts and the brain bleeds. Hemorrhagic strokes are more dangerous than ischemic and account for about 13% of strokes in the United States.

How can you tell if someone is having a stroke?

There are characteristic symptoms associated with strokes such as numbness or weakness on one side of the body, severe headaches, confusion, difficulty speaking, and imbalance. However, not all stroke victims exhibit these symptoms and they can sometimes be confused for other conditions. That is why it is critical to get a definitive diagnosis as soon as possible. With OnSite Rapid Stroke Assessment, only a quick, simple blood test is required to determine if someone is having a stroke.

What other conditions have similar symptoms to strokes?

Alcohol Intoxication
Cerebral Infections
Drug Overdose/Toxicity
Epidural Hematoma
Metabolic Disorders
Neuropathies (Bell’s Palsy)
Seizure and post seizure Todd’s Paralysis
Brain Tumors
Hypertensive Encephalopathy

Why is it important to differentiate between strokes?

Ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes require vastly different treatments. Ischemic strokes are commonly treated with medicines such Alteplase that dissolve blood clots. Particularly dangerous clots can also be removed using a catheter to mechanically break down the clot. Administration of anti-clotting agents to a patient with hemorrhagic stroke will result in increased bleeding, which could cause increased disability or death. Hemorrhagic strokes are treated using a catheter that repairs the ruptured artery. Hemorrhagic strokes often require more immediate treatment than ischemic strokes before irreversible damage occurs.

What is the standard treatment for strokes?

Currently, strokes are diagnosed using a CT scanner. If the patient is found to have an ischemic stroke, they are typically given blood thinners that dissolve the clot. If they have a minor hemorrhagic stroke usually are given supportive care. If the hemorrhagic stroke is severe, surgery at a stroke center is required.