Does a stroke affect the heart?

Does a stroke affect the heart?

Q. Does a stroke affect the heart? A. Not directly. The heart uses blood vessels just like the brain, but some heart conditions can cause small clots to form possibly traveling to the brain. A stroke or “Brain Attack” is a type of vascular disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when an artery that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain bursts or (more commonly) becomes blocked by a clot. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the oxygen and nutrients it needs, so it starts to die. Clots that block an artery cause ischemic strokes, the most common type of stroke. Ruptured blood vessels cause hemorrhagic or bleeding strokes. 85% of all strokes are ischemic and 15% are hemorrhagic. TIAs or Transient Ischemic Attacks are “Warning Strokes” and can occur weeks or months before a major stroke. TIA symptoms occur and resolve in a short period of time, however should be treated as a medical emergency. When part of the brain dies from lack of blood flow, the body part or function it controls is affected. Strokes can cause paralysis, affect vision and speech and is the leading cause of adult long-term disability. About 700,000 Americans will have a new or recurrent stroke each year and over 157,000 of them will die. The good news is that strokes can be prevented and you should know what the warning signs are. For more information about strokes and their warning signs please contact your doctor.

Critical Care Nurse Specialist