A Stroke is a 'brain attack'...
For your brain to function, it needs a constant blood supply, which provides vital nutrients and oxygen to the brain cells. A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off and brain cells are damaged or die.
There are 2 types of stroke, Ischaemic Stroke and Haemorrhagic Stroke
Ischaemic Strokes are the most common accounting for 80% of cases. The blood supply to the brain is decreased, leading to dysfunction of the brain tissue in that area. There are 4 main reasons why this might happen;
- Thrombosis (obstruction of a blood vessel by a blood clot forming locally),
- Embolism (obstruction due to an embolus from elsewhere in the body)
- Systemic hypoperfusion (general decrease in blood supply, e.g. in shock)
- Venous thrombosis (a blood clot that forms within a vein)
If a patient suffers an ischaemic stroke, they may be a candidate for thrombolysis
The other type is a Haemorrhagic Stroke. In around 20% of cases strokes are caused by blood vessels in our around the brain rupturing and causing bleeding, or a haemorrhage. The build up of blood presses on the brain, damaging its delicate tissue. Meanwhile other brain cells in the area are starved of blood and damaged.
Due to the nature of thrombolysis, patients who have suffered from a haemorrahagic stroke are not thrombolysis candidates.