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Ischemic Stroke

An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies the brain becomes blocked or "clogged" and impairs blood flow to part of the brain. The brain cells and tissues begin to die within minutes from lack of oxygen and nutrients. The area of tissue death is called an infarct. About 88 percent of strokes fall into this category. Ischemic strokes are further divided into two groups - thrombotic and embolic.

Ischemic Stroke Symptoms

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially involving one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Ischemic Stroke Diagnosis

When a patient arrives at one of Beaumont's Emergency Departments, a rapid, accurate ischemic stroke diagnosis and its exact cause and location is essential.

In addition to a physical examination and laboratory tests, our physicians may use a variety of advanced imaging diagnostic tests to diagnose an ischemic stroke, including a CT scan, CTA, arteriography, cerebral angiogram, carotid ultrasonography, MRA, echocardiogram, MRI or transcranial Doppler.

Ischemic Stroke Treatment

Although there is no cure for stroke, advanced medical and surgical ischemic stroke treatments are now available, giving many stroke victims hope for optimal recovery.

Emergency ischemic stroke treatments include medications used to dissolve blood clots that cause ischemic stroke, medications and therapy to reduce or control brain swelling, medications that help protect the brain from damage and life support measures.

There are also medications that can be used to treat or prevent a stroke, including medications to help prevent more blood clots from forming, medications that reduce the chance of blood clots and medications to treat existing medical conditions.

Several types of surgery may be performed to help treat a stroke or to help prevent a stroke from occurring, including the following:

  • carotid endarterectomy
  • carotid stenting
  • craniotomy
  • surgery to repair aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
  • patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure