Stroke secondary to atrial fibrillation; Cardioembolic stroke
Stroke is a serious condition. In all cases, the sooner treatment is given, the better the person will do, and the lower the chance of permanent disability or death.
Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms. Nearly all strokes, including this type, require hospitalization. Most patients will be admitted to an intensive care unit for close monitoring.
Clot-busting drugs (thrombolytic therapy) may be used. The drugs are used to restore normal blood flow. It is very important that such medication be given within 3 hours of the start of symptoms, so it's critical that the patient gets to the hospital very quickly. Other procedures can also be done to help break up the clot. This is another reason why it is important to seek medical care as quickly as possible.
If treatment with thrombolytic therapy is successful, the symptoms may completely go away.
However, there are strict rules regarding who should and should not receive thrombolytic therapy. The drugs have some risks of significant side effects. If the stroke was caused by bleeding in the brain, and not a clot, this therapy can be harmful.
There is no known cure for stroke if someone can not receive thrombolytic therapy. Physical therapy may be needed, depending on the affects of the stroke. Treatment is also aimed at prevention of future strokes.
The underlying heart disorder should be treated, which may include medications to control the heartbeat.
Stroke is the leading cause of disability among adults in the United States. It is the country's third leading cause of death.
How well a person does depends on the severity of the stroke and how quickly treatment is received.
- Problems due to loss of mobility (joint contractures, pressure sores)
- Permanent loss of movement or sensation of a part of the body
- Bone fractures
- Muscle spasticity
- Permanent loss of brain functions
- Reduced communication or social interaction
- Reduced ability to function or care for self
- Early death
- Side effects of medications
- Breathing in food or fluids into the lungs (aspiration)
Calling your health care provider
Stroke is a medical emergency. Immediately go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (911 in the United States) if signs of a stroke occur.