A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain. A stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack."
Arteriovenous malformation(AVM) Cerebral hemorrhage
Cerebrovascular disease; CVA; Cerebral infarction; Cerebral hemorrhage; Ischemic stroke; Stroke - ischemic; Cerebrovascular accident; Stroke - hemorrhagic
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted because a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts open.
If blood flow is stopped for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.
There are two major types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. This may happen in two ways:
- A clot may form in an artery that is already very narrow. This is called a thrombus. If it completely blocks the artery, it is called a thrombotic stroke.
- A clot may break off from another place in the blood vessels of the brain, or some other part of the body, and travel up to the brain to block a smaller artery. This is called an embolism. It causes an embolic stroke.
Review Date: 06/15/2010
Reviewed By: Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.