Stroke Complications - Medical Negligence Solicitors – Compensation Claims

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Stroke Complications

A stroke happens when there is an interruption in blood flow to the brain. This usually happens when a blood clot travels to the brain causing a “brain attack”. It can also happen when bleeding in the brain kills off a segment of brain tissue. These two causes of a stroke are referred to as an ischischemicemic stroke (from a blood clot) and haemorrhagic stroke (from bleeding).

In an ischischemicemic stroke, the blood clot can form in a narrow part of the brain’s arteries. This kind of stroke is called a thrombotic stroke. On the other hand, an embolic stroke stems from a blood clot that comes from a distant artery. Plaques have a lot to do with ischaemic strokes. In haemorrhagic strokes, the bleeding can come from an aneurysm or from an arteriovenous malformation or AVM. High blood pressure has a lot to do with this kind of stroke.

The other major risk factors for stroke include:

  • Diabetes
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of stroke
  • ischemic
  • Advanced age, above 55
  • Black race
  • Heart disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Smokers
  • High fat diet
  • Birth control pill use

Symptoms of a stroke depend on where in the brain the stroke is involved. Some obvious symptoms include lack of speech or garbled speech, weakness of the arm and/or weakness of the leg, numbness of parts of the body, neglect of parts of the body and limited mentation. There can be coma or decreased alertness and changes in hearing or taste. Clumsiness can happen as can loss of memory. Balance and coordination are off centre and there can be a loss of bladder or bowel function. Personality can change and vision can be affected.

After a physical exam is suspicious for a stroke, a CT scan is often done to confirm the problem. CT scans work better on haemorrhagic strokes than they do for ischaemic strokes but, over time, ischaemic strokes are seen on CT scan as well. A carotid ultrasound can be done to see if there is narrowing of the carotid artery as is seen in ischaemic stroke. An echocardiogram can look for areas in which there are blood clots that can break off and head to the brain.

The treatment of a stroke is considered medically necessary as soon as possible because quick treatment can save a person’s life and livelihood. If the stroke is determined to be from a blood clot, a clot busting drug can be given within 4 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms to be effective in altering the symptoms of a stroke. Blood thinners like heparin, warfarin, and aspirin or Plavix can be used for long term management of stroke symptoms. Medications are given to control blood pressure. If more strokes can happen, surgeries or procedures are done to prevent these strokes from occurring. Often a feeding tube is placed so that nutrition is given and the right amount of nutrients is given. Patients with stroke receive physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy and therapy to improve swallowing.

Complications of stroke treatment include giving clot busting drugs too late or giving the wrong dose so that extra bleeding in the brain occurs. Failure to do testing to prevent further strokes, such as carotid ultrasounds or echocardiograms can result in more strokes occurring. This can all be prevented with the right testing around the time of the first stroke. The doctor needs to give the appropriate amount of blood pressure medication so that bleeding doesn’t persist in the first stroke or reoccur in subsequent strokes.

Complications of stroke include coma, worsened symptoms and deteriorating health due to lack of self care. Stroke patients often need full time nursing care for things like eating, motor skills, dressing, self care like combing one’s hair and brushing one’s teeth and communication.

Prevention of stroke symptoms includes the treatment of dysphagia or problems with swallowing reflex. Speech therapists can work with the patient and make recommendations on the thickness of foods so that the patient can take in foods. Sometimes a feeding tube is recommended. A feeding tube is recommended for as long as six months.

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