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There Are Two Types of Strokes. Here’s What Makes Them Different

A stroke is a serious medical event that can have permanent consequences for a patient. Most people know that a stroke involves a blockage in the brain. However, there is a second, less-common type of stroke that requires different treatment. Learn more about the two types of strokes and how each may be treated.

What Are the Two Types of Strokes?

A stroke may be ischemic or hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke involves a clot in the brain that restricts blood flow, while a hemorrhagic stroke involves excessive bleeding in the brain that can dangerously increase intracranial pressure.

There are also subcategories of each type of stroke, including the following:

Types of Ischemic Strokes

Ischemic strokes are characterized by blood clots in the brain. There are two types of ischemic strokes:

  • Thrombotic strokes. These are caused by a clot that develops in the blood vessels inside the brain. These strokes are more typical in older adults, particularly those with high cholesterol or diabetes.
  • Embolic strokes. These are caused by a clot that forms elsewhere in the body and travels to the brain through the bloodstream. These strokes usually result from heart disease or heart surgery.

Hemorrhagic Strokes

Hemorrhagic strokes are characterized by the rupture of a blood vessel and bleeding into the brain. There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes:

  • Intracerebral hemorrhage. Bleeding in the brain comes from blood vessels within the brain. These strokes are usually caused by high blood pressure.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage. Bleeding in the brain occurs in the space between the brain and the membranes that cover the brain. These strokes can be caused by trauma.

a woman with head pain

How Are Strokes Treated?

There are several different treatments for a stroke, depending on its type. The main treatments for hemorrhagic strokes include blood-thinning medications, surgical procedures, and radiation therapy.

The main treatments for ischemic strokes include endovascular procedures such as stents, and emergency IV medication including tissue plasminogen activators (tPA). Although tPA can be effective in certain situations, it also has significant risks that can cause more harm than good to a stroke patient.

The key element of tPA is that it must be administered to a patient within a certain amount of time after a stroke develops. Otherwise, tPA may cause excessive bleeding in the brain. Both the American Stroke Association and the American Heart Association recommend three hours as the window for tPA administration.

When successful, tPA can dissolve a clot in an ischemic stroke and help the patient to a better recovery. However, according to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, the chance of bleeding into the brain in patients who receive tPA is about 3% as opposed to only 0.2% for those who do not.

Given the potentially dire risks of tPA as a stroke treatment, it’s vital that physicians know when to administer the drug. Failing to administer the drug during the safe time frame, or at all, may constitute medical malpractice.

brain scan

Suffered from Medical Malpractice During a Stroke Treatment? Contact Us Today

In order to survive or recover from a stroke, patients must receive prompt and accurate care from physicians. The failure to do so may constitute medical malpractice. If you or someone you love suffered harm during stroke treatment, Brown & Barron, LLC is here to help.

Call Brown & Barron, LLC at (410) 698-1717 to schedule a free consultation.

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