Cerebrovascular disease; CVA; Cerebral infarction; Cerebral hemorrhage; Ischemic stroke; Stroke – ischemic; Cerebrovascular accident; Stroke – hemorrhagic
Definition of Stroke
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain. A stroke is sometimes called a “brain attack.”
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted because a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts open.
The symptoms of stroke depend on what part of the brain is damaged. In some cases, a person may not even be aware that he or she has had a stroke.
Signs and tests
A complete physical and neurological exam should be performed. Your doctor will:
A stroke is a medical emergency. Immediate treatment can save lives and reduce disability. Call 911 or your local emergency number or seek immediate medical care at the first signs of a stroke.
The outlook depends on the type of stroke, how much brain tissue is damaged, what body functions have been affected, and how quickly treatment is received. Recovery may occur completely, or there may be some permanent loss of function.
Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/15/2010