Ischemic Stroke occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked. The brain depends on its arteries to bring fresh blood from the heart and lungs. If the artery remains blocked for more than a few minutes, the brain cells may die and thus immediate medical treatment is critical.
What causes Ischemic Strokes?
Ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage removing the blood supply to the brain and can have a number of causes:
- The most common problem is narrowing and hardening of the arteries in the neck or head. This is most often caused by atherosclerosis, or gradual build up of fatty deposits on the artery walls. If the arteries become too narrow, blood cells may collect and form blood clots. These blood clots can block the artery where they are formed (thrombosis), or can dislodge and become trapped in arteries closer to the brain (embolism).
- Blood clots in the heart, which can occur as a result of an irregular heartbeat, heart attack, or abnormalities of the heart valves can move through the blood stream into the brain.
- A tear may develop in the lining of an artery allowing blood to penetrate the layers of arterial walls, which can occur as a result of an injury to the neck.
Who can be effected?
Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, currently accounting for about 88 percent of all strokes. Stroke can affect people of all ages, including children. Many people with ischemic strokes are older (60 or more years old), and the risk of stroke increases with age. Many people with stroke have other problems or conditions which put them at higher risk for stroke, such as hypertension, heart disease, smoking, or diabetes.
tPA is a medication that dissolves blood clots caused by stroke that was approved for use in 1996. It is commonly referred to as the “clot buster” and can quickly dissolve blood clots. However this can lead to excessive bleeding (hemorrhage) which is where EmstoPA steps in.
*World Health Organisation. (2015) http://bit.ly/1c9a3vO