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Stroke – [Cerebral Hemorrhage]

A stroke occurs when part of the brain is damaged because its blood supply has been compromised. As a result, the physical or mental functions controlled in the injured area deteriorate. The disturbance may be due to one of three types of vascular disorders: cerebral thrombosis, cerebral embolism, or cerebral hemorrhage.

The first of these, cerebral thrombosis, happens if an artery supplying blood to the brain is narrowed (usually due to atherosclerosis). A plaque or a deposit of fatty tissue at the narrowed portion of the artery may break open and make a place where the blood coagulates, and form a thrombus, or clot. This thrombus may grow until it partially or completely blocks the artery.

A cerebral embolism is also a block, but it is caused by a type of foreign object, or embolus. The embolus may be a bit of arterial wall or a small blood clot from a roughened artery or a diseased heart. It is carried in the bloodstream until it becomes wedged in a place where it obstructs the flow of blood that goes to the brain.

In a cerebral hemorrhage, the artery is not blocked; it bursts. Blood seeps from the rupture into surrounding brain tissue and continues until the seepage is prevented by a pressure build-up as the blood “backs up,” outside the rupture and by the blood’s clotting. The initial effects of a hemorrhage may be more severe than those of a thrombosis or embolism, but the long-term effects of all three types are similar. The results of a stroke depend on which part and how much of the brain is affected.

The blood thinning drugs are given to lower the risk of blood clots forming–and thus prevent heart attack, ischemic stroke, blood clots to the lungs, or blood clots in the legs. Among the medications that are prescribed are aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), ticlopidine (Ticlid), aspirin and dipyridamole (Aggrenox), and warfarin (Coumadin).

In addition, measures to treat local areas of artery disease can include surgery (carotid endarterectomy) and endovascular treatment (angioplasty and stenting).

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is for general informational purposes only, and is provided as a supplement for students enrolled in Meditec’s medical career training courses. The information should NOT be used for actual diagnostic or treatment purposes or in lieu of diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician.