Neuroscience & Stroke
A stroke, also often called a "brain attack," occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off by a blood clot or a ruptured blood vessel. Starving brain cells begin to die within minutes, so seeking immediate treatment is critical.
- Stroke is our nation’s number 3 killer and a leading cause of disability.
- Each year, about 700,000 Americans have a stroke.
- On average, one stroke occurs every 45 seconds.
- Every 3 minutes, someone dies of stroke.
- Stroke causes about one in 15 deaths.
- 15 to 30 percent of stroke survivors are permanently disabled.
Stroke is Highly Treatable...in the First Three Hours
- For every hour’s delay, the brain loses 120 million cells.
- In volume, a pea-sized piece of brain dies for each 12 minutes without treatment.
- Brain tissue a little larger than a ping-pong ball is lost if a typical stroke is untreated.
- The brain ages 3.6 years in the first hour...36 years during a typical 10-hour stroke.
Types of Stroke
Stroke can be caused either by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain (ischemic stroke) or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).
Ischemic stroke, which typically accounts for more than 80 percent of all strokes, occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. The underlying condition for this type of obstruction is the development of fatty deposits lining the vessel walls. This condition is called atherosclerosis. These fatty deposits can cause two types of obstruction:
- Cerebral thrombosis: A thrombus (blood clot) that develops at the clogged part of the vessel.
- Cerebral embolism: Generally, a blood clot that forms at another location in the circulatory system, usually the heart and large arteries of the upper chest and neck. A portion of the blood clot breaks loose, enters the bloodstream and travels through the brain's blood vessels until it reaches vessels too small to let it pass. A second important cause of embolism is an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation. It creates conditions where clots can form in the heart, dislodge and travel to the brain.
Transient ischemic attacks, also called TIAs, are minor or warning strokes. In a TIA, conditions indicative of an ischemic stroke are present and the typical stroke warning signs develop. However, the obstruction (blood clot) occurs for a short time and tends to resolve itself through normal mechanisms. Even though the symptoms disappear after a short time, TIAs are strong indicators of a possible major stroke. Steps should be taken immediately to prevent a stroke.
Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for fewer than 20 percent of stroke cases and results from a weakened vessel that ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain. The blood accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue. The two types of hemorrhagic strokes are intracerebral hemorrhage or subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Two types of weakened blood vessels usually cause hemorrhagic stroke: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
- An aneurysm is the ballooning of a weakened region of a blood vessel. If left untreated, the aneurysm continues to weaken until it ruptures and bleeds into the brain.
- AVM is a cluster of abnormally formed blood vessels. Any of these vessels can rupture, causing bleeding into the brain.
Neuroscience & Stroke Feature Stories
- Pressure relieved: Arnold resident back to normal after brain tumor surgery
- Back to normal: Mehlville resident back to exploring after spinal surgery
- Pilot off to new adventures after back surgery
- Getting back to normal
- Stroke Recovery is in the Cards
- One Step at a Time
- P.E. Teacher is REBOUNDING After Stroke
- Back to Normal in ONE Hour
- Level One Stroke Center Designation Means Top-Notch Care
- Video System Speeds Stroke Care
Neuroscience & Stroke News
- Nurses Chosen as Finalists for March of Dimes Nurse of the Year10/16/2017
- Recovering from a Concussion05/30/2017
- American Stroke Association honors St. Anthony’s with Gold Plus Award for stroke care05/18/2017
- Speech Therapy treats more than just speech05/09/2017
- St. Anthony’s Adds Stroke Rehab Accreditation01/12/2017