Home > Health A – Z > Cerebrovascular Accident

Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke)

A stroke occurs if the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the brain is blocked. Without oxygen, brain cells start to die after a few minutes. Sudden bleeding in the brain also can cause a stroke if it damages brain cells. NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

About Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke)

A stroke occurs if the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the brain is blocked. Without oxygen, brain cells start to die after a few minutes. Sudden bleeding in the brain also can cause a stroke if it damages brain cells.

If brain cells die or are damaged because of a stroke, symptoms occur in the parts of the body that these brain cells control. Examples of stroke symptoms include sudden weakness; paralysis or numbness of the face, arms, or legs (paralysis is an inability to move); trouble speaking or understanding speech; and trouble seeing.

A stroke is a serious medical condition that requires emergency care. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death.

If you think you or someone else is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 right away. Do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin life-saving... Read more about Cerebrovascular Accident

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

[Physical fitness training after cerebrovascular accident]

Bibliographic details: Outermans J C, van Peppen R P, Takken T.  [Physical fitness training after cerebrovascular accident]. [Fysieke fitheidstraining na een CVA: een review.] Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Fysiotherapie 2007; 117(4): 135-141

Therapeutic nursing in stroke rehabilitation: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Burton C R.  Therapeutic nursing in stroke rehabilitation: a systematic review. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing 2003; 7(3/4): 124-133

Effectiveness of treadmill retraining on gait of hemiparetic stroke patients: systematic review of current evidence

Bibliographic details: Manning C D, Pomeroy V M.  Effectiveness of treadmill retraining on gait of hemiparetic stroke patients: systematic review of current evidence. Physiotherapy 2003; 9(6): 337-349

See all (2244)

Summaries for consumers

In an emergency: Signs of a stroke

A stroke is an emergency. If you think someone might be having a stroke, it is essential that you call the emergency services (in Germany: 112, in the United States: 911) immediately and ask for medical help.Reacting quickly and getting treatment as soon as possible can sometimes stop brain cells from dying. That lowers the risk of serious consequences and can also keep symptoms to a minimum.Typical symptoms of a stroke include:Sudden weakness, numbness and signs of paralysis: People who are having a stroke can often no longer move their arm, hand and/or leg properly. As well as weakness, some people experience sensations like tingling and numbness. It can sometimes feel like your arm or foot has gone to sleep. Drooping on one side of the mouth is another typical sign of a stroke. These symptoms usually just affect one side of the body, and only rarely both sides.Speech problems: A lot of people suddenly have difficulties finding the right words during a stroke and speak in broken sentences. Sudden slurring of words or mumbling can also be signs of a stroke. Sometimes people have problems understanding what others are saying – although they can hear the words, they cannot make sense of them.Vision problems: A stroke can affect vision. People are then no longer aware of things to one side of their body, and their field of vision in the left or right eye is limited. Many people suddenly have double vision. If they want to reach for something, such as a cup, they often miss it.Dizziness and trouble walking: People may have difficulty keeping their balance. They either feel like everything is spinning around or swaying from side to side.Severe headache: A sudden, unusually strong headache can also be a sign of a stroke. Such headaches are caused by acute blood supply problems in the brain or by bleeding in the brain due to a torn or burst blood vessel. Headaches may be the only symptom at first, followed a little later by other symptoms such as paralysis and confusion. Nausea and vomiting are also possible symptoms.

After a stroke: Does fitness training improve health and mobility?

Fitness training as part of rehabilitation after a stroke can increase physical fitness and improve mobility.

Is treatment with dipyridamole and ASA worthwhile after a stroke?

A combination of dipyridamole and ASA leads more frequently to side effects and complications than clopidogrel or ASA taken alone. There is no proof that the combination has advantages over just taking clopidogrel or ASA on their own.

See all (418)

Terms to know

Blood
A tissue with red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and other substances suspended in fluid called plasma. Blood takes oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, and carries away wastes.
Brain
The part of the central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium).
Hemorrhage
In medicine, loss of blood from damaged blood vessels. A hemorrhage may be internal or external, and usually involves a lot of bleeding in a short time.
Oxygen
A colorless, odorless gas. It is needed for animal and plant life. Oxygen that is breathed in enters the blood from the lungs and travels to the tissues.

More about Cerebrovascular Accident

Photo of an adult

Also called: Brain attack

Other terms to know: See all 4
Blood, Brain, Hemorrhage

Keep up with systematic reviews on Cerebrovascular Accident:

RSS

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...