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[edit] Group 14- Stroke

  • 1. Jennifer Martin
  • 2. Holly Vlasov
  • 3. Krystin Piedl
  • 4. Jessica Kremble

[edit] Stroke

A stroke, clinically defined as a cerebrovascular accident, occurs when there is loss of blood flow to a specific brain area.[1] Strokes vary in magnitude and can have very minor effects or can cause major cognitive impairments. In most circumstances, individuals affected by stroke suffer from impaired motor ability, which results in impaired language skills, and paralysis of the face and limbs.[1]
Brain damage resulting from a stroke
Brain damage resulting from a stroke

The brain requires a high amount of energy and blood supply. As little as 60-90 seconds of oxygen deprivation can cause damage to the brain. [2] There is a small window of time after a stroke occurs to seek medical attention. Although there is no way to predict when or if a stroke is going to happen, fore-warnings of a potential stroke typically include; dizziness, faintness, loss of vision, intense headaches or nausea.[2]

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in Canada, and within the first 10 days of a stroke occurring, a third of stroke patients die. [2] Survivors of stroke may experience; cognitive impairments, depression, language impairments and physical disabilities. In addition to the survivor, the family and caregiver also suffer when trying to help a loved one recover.[2]

[edit] Types of Strokes

Ischemicand hemorrhagic are the two most common types of strokes. Ischemic strokes comprise 80% of stroke cases, and hemorrhagic strokes account for 15 % of all cases of stroke.[3]

[edit] Ischemic

An ischemic stroke is the result of a local insufficiency of blood supply, due to a blood clot or other obstruction that has blocked the artery. During an ischemic stroke, the brain's oxygen supply is cut off which leads to brain damage. [1]

Ischemic subtypes:

Brain before and after a stroke
Brain before and after a stroke
  • Thrombolic Stroke – A blood clot occurs in a specif area the body, most commonly in a larger artery. When the blood clot occurs, it prevents blood flow to the brain resulting in a stroke. [2] Furthermore, thrombolic strokes involve lucunar infarctions, which refer to a very small lesion deep in the artery tissue which prevents or blocks the flow of blood. This is the most common type of stroke and is seen more commonly in males than females. The prevalence is also higher in Chinese, Mexican and African American individuals. [4]
  • Embolic Stroke – This type of stroke begins with a blood clot, usually occurring the heart. The artery walls become thicker which narrow the flow of blood. This type of stroke is most prevalent in individuals with high cholesterol. [5] When the blood clot travels through the blood stream, it eventually reaches the brain and blocks the blood vessel, obstructing the flow of blood to the brain.

Although there are many subtypes of ischemic stroke, 15-40% of all cases are undetermined. [6]

[edit] Hemorrhagic

A hemorrhagic stroke is the result of a ruptured artery or blood vessel in the brain. After this occurs, there is a large amount of blood that floods the area and causes damage. [1] Hemorrhagic strokes occur less frequently than ischemic strokes, but are often more fatal than ischemic strokes. [2]

[edit] Risk Factors for Stroke

There are many factors which increase the risk of a stroke.[7]
It is important to know these factors so that preventative measures can be taken to reduce the occurrence of stroke. The following section will discuss these controllable risk factors in isolation, but it should be noted that most people who suffer from a stroke have a combination of risk factors. [7]Strokes can happen to an individual at any age, however they are more common with older adults. In a recent study, different risk factors were taken into account to compare younger adults (ages 50-75) and older adults (age 75 and above) on stroke related causes.[8] The study suggested that in the younger group, the main factors for stroke were obesity and high cholesterol levels. For the older group, the main risk factors included atrial fibrillation, hypertension and diabetes. It was also suggested that smoking and regular alcohol consumption were highly correlated with men, whereas heart disease was frequently correlated with women.[8]
[edit] Hypertension

Hypertension, which is commonly known as high blood pressure, significantly increases the risk of both hemorrhagic and ischaemic strokes.[7] Unfortunately, less than 25% of the world’s hypertensive population strictly monitor their blood pressure levels.[9] However, by lowering blood pressure levels to a normal range, patients can reduce their risk of stroke by 30-40 %! [7][10][10][11]

[edit] Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation) (AF) is the largest risk factor of strokes. AF occurs from an irregular beating of the heart that causes blood to collect in one of the heart's chambers. The resulting blood clot can dislodge and lead to a stroke. Atrial fibrillation accounts for 15% of all strokes. [7][2] Persons with AF are at least five times more likely than persons with normal heart rhythms to have strokes.[2] It is estimated that one out of every four persons over the age of 40 has AF,[7][2] and the international population of persons with AF is expected to at least double by the year 2050, due to the ageing population.[2] Strokes caused by atrial fibrillation are more likely to be fatal than non atrial fibrillation induced strokes.[2] Clinicians are responsible for determining whether it is most advantageous for the individual to leave the AF untreated, or to go on medications, depending on the individual's medical history and age.[2] The most effective treatments for persons with AF are anticoagulant (i.e. warfarin, dibigatran), and antrithrombotic (i.e. Aspirin) therapies. [7][2] Typically, individuals with AF who are at a higher risk of having a stroke are put on a warfarin treatment plan. This reduces the likelihood of a stroke by 66%, which is far more effective than Aspirin, which has a risk reduction of only 20%.[2] However, the complications associated with warfarin are greater than Aspirin, in that warfarin has a high propensity to react with both food and other medications. [2]

[edit] Diabetes

Data compiled from Stats Canada showed that as of year 2010, 1,841,527 Canadians or 6.4% of Canada's population had diabetes.[12] The percentage increases with age, and it is estimated that 17.7% of individuals over age 65 have diabetes (21.2% risk in males and 14.9% risk in females).[12] The prevalence of diabetes continues to increase annually. For instance, in the past five years the population of people with diabetes has increased by 1.5%.[12] Diabetes increases the likelihood of cardiac diseases and significantly increases the risk of stroke. [7] In most cases, diabetes occurs in conjunction with other cardiovascular risk factors. For example, an estimated 60% of diabetics also have hypertension. [7] The most effective method of prevention for strokes in diabetics is by implementing lifestyle changes. [7]

[edit] Smoking
Approximately 20% of Canadians smoke.[13] Smoking increases the risk of having a stroke by a factor of two.[7] This risk increases proportionately to the number of cigarettes smoked daily - so increasing the amount of cigarettes smoked daily increases the risk of stroke to the individual. The day an individual decides to stop smoking, their risk of stroke immediately starts to decrease. After five smoke-free years, the former smoker's risk of stroke is comparable to someone who has never smoked.[7]

[edit] Prevention of Stroke

[edit] Lifestyle Changes

The most beneficial measure any individual can take to reduce the risk of stroke is by making healthy lifestyle changes. The following measures are effective in reducing the risk of stroke:

  • Decreasing the risk of Hypertension and Diabetes
    • Implementing a healthy diet, rich in a variety of nutrient packed foods, and eating in moderation.[7][10] The video link in this section provides additional information about the impact eating fruits may have in minimizing the risk of stroke
    • Increasing the amount of exercise
      • Will help the individual lose excess weight and decrease cholesterol.
      • Even as little as half an hour a day can be helpful in preventing stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.[7] [14]
    • Monitoring HDL and LDL cholesterol levels to ensure that cholesterol levels are neither too high nor too low. [7]
    • Drinking alcohol in moderation can decrease the risk of stroke.
      • For most men, this could mean two glasses of wine a day, and one glass of wine per day for women.[14]
    • Quit smoking
  • Taking Aspirin to reduce the risk of AF
    • Physicians have commonly prescribed Aspirinas a preventative measure for strokes in the elderly population. It has been effective for both men and women in reducing the number of people affected by cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke. [14] [15] However, individuals who have taken Aspirin as a preventative measure for strokes have been shown to have an increased likelihood of major bleeding events (most commonly bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract).[14] Research has found that men who take aspirin prior to a stroke are more likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke, whereas Aspirin was not seen to significantly affect stroke type in women.[14]

[edit] Effects of a Stroke on Survivors

Strokes affect each individual differently in terms of the outcomes and difficulties that occur post stroke. The outcomes are determined by how severe the stroke is as well as what type of stroke the individual has. Some of the areas affected are communication, motor abilities and overall quality of life.

[edit] Communication

Communication is an area of struggle for individuals who have suffered a stroke. Aphasia is a disorder in which the individual has difficulty comprehending speech, or understands it but cannot produce what they want to say. Dysarthria is characterized by an individual knowing what they want to say but being unable to produce the sounds because of muscle problems, and therefore use alternative modes of communication such as drawing or writing the words. Communication with other people is often very stressful and time consuming, so much so that it affects social relationships. [16] People who suffer from aphasia typically have half the social network size post stroke that they had pre-stroke. [16] This difference in social network size may be due to social isolation because of the difficulty communicating. [16] The photos to the left and right explain the visual representation of what aphasia and dysarthria mean visually, they can be used by individuals with these disorders to help explain what is wrong with their communication.

[edit] Motor Movement

Paralysis is the loss of voluntary motor control over an area of the body. It often occurs post-stroke, affecting the opposite side of the body where the stroke occurred in the brain. Balance and gait are also affected by a stroke. Post-stroke, individuals walk more slowly and have poorer balance compared to age matched individuals. [17] Hypokinetic movement disorders are characterized by slower or reduced motor movements. [18] Hyperkineticmovement disorders are characterized by an increased amount of motor movement. [18] The following video explains more descriptively what happens to individuals after a stroke, and can be used to better explain any misconceptions of what a stroke is.

[edit] Quality of Life

Depression affects the quality of life of stroke survivors, especially within the first six-month period following the stroke. [19] This onset of depression can sometimes lead to death in stroke patients because of the impact it has on the psyche of the individual. [19] When dependency on others, loss of movement, and the inability to perform usual activities occurs in stroke survivors, they are often dissatisfied with their quality of life. [20]

Although strokes usually affect older individuals, some younger people have strokes. Many people who experience strokes have jobs prior to the stroke and the ability to return to work is important to the survivor, either for financial stability or personal enjoyment reasons.[21] However, if the individuals work situation was stressful, it may have caused hypertension, so a return to work may not be a good idea for stroke survivors because it could increase the chance of another stroke. [21] The ability of a stroke survivor to return to work is dependent on the rate and depth of recovery, and the degree of impairment caused by the stroke. [21]

[edit] Effects of Stroke on Caregivers

[edit] Relationship with Survivor

Strong relationships are important in the recovery of the stroke survivor. Excess stress placed on the caregiver could be detrimental to the relationship with the survivor. [22] A common result of the stroke causes the caregiver to lose the person they married. [22] Caregivers are often overprotective and fearful of the survivor having another stroke, which could cause the survivor to feel like they are being treated as a child. [22] Intimacy is a very important factor in a relationship, this is often lost post stroke, due to the survivor's loss of mobility. [22] Familial roles change after stroke. The caregiver must now be the provider, caretaker, and strong individual. [22] This is increasingly difficult if the stroke survivor is the dominant male of the household. Family roles can often change with other members of the family. Besides spouses, children and grandchildren, for instance may become less important to the carer in relation to the stroke survivor [22]. This can be detrimental to all of the emotional lives of everyone in the family and everyone affected by the stroke. Some of the emotions felt by the caregiver is burden, because they need to spend many hours of the day aiding the survivor in the recovery process. [23]

[edit] Changes

Work is an important way of supporting a family. Following the stroke of a loved one, caregivers often experience changes in their employment which can include now having to work, working more hours or having to cut back due to care taking responsibilities. [22] All of the work changes can affect the caregiver as well as the stroke survivor. Some caregivers report going back to work helped keep them sane throughout the recovery process of their loved one. [22] Although some of the caregivers want to work, others report extra stress brought on by having to increase their work load to support the family. [22] Friends are often put on hold during recovery leading to isolation being felt by the caregiver. [22] Stress can affect the social relationships as well because they feel they are abandoning the survivor and cannot enjoy themselves when they go out. [22] However, not all the changes encumbered post-stroke are negative; caregivers can often feel more self-worth and see their life in a more positive direction because of the new roles taken on.

[edit] Treatment

The main goals of treatment for stroke are to prevent brain damage from progressing and to prevent another stroke from occurring.[24]

[edit] Medications

After a patient has been admitted to the hospital due to stroke, a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may be administered. tPA may only be used if there is a blockage in the brain.[25] The tPA works to break up the blood clot which is stopping blood and oxygen from reaching areas of the brain.[25] Patients must have a CT scan to ensure that the stroke is in fact due to a blood clot as opposed to bleeding in the brain.[25] Administering tPA to an individual who has had a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding) can be extremely dangerous and worsen the effect of the stroke.[25] It is widely believed that the tPA must be administered within 3 hours of onset of stroke symptoms for the drug to be effective. Recent studies, however, have shown that patients can significantly benefit from treatment with a tPA which has been administered up to 4.5 hours after onset of stroke symptoms.[26] See the video to the right for more information on tPA.

[edit] Surgery

Patients who have suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke may require surgery to reduce further damage to the brain. Blood that has collected after hemorrhagic stroke can begin clotting and may require surgical removal to relieve pressure on the brain.[24] Surgery may also be required to repair the ruptured blood vessels that caused the bleeding.[27]

[edit] Non-Surgical Procedures

Carotid angioplasty and stenting are treatment methods used after ischemic stroke. Carotid angioplasty involves insertion of a balloon-like device into the artery, and opens the clogged artery. [27] Doctors can then use stenting which involves inserting a metal stent into the artery, helping to keep it open and allow blood to reach the brain.[27] In the case of an aneurysm, coil embrolization can be used. An aneurysm is a blood-filled bulge that results from weak artery walls. Blood vessels may be filled with flexible coils to prevent an aneurysm from rupturing and causing a stroke.[27]

[edit] Rehabilitation

The goal of rehabilitation after a stroke is to reach the optimal level of function and movement, allowing patients to regain as much independence as possible.[28] Rehabilitation usually begins while the patient is in the hospital and may continue on an outpatient basis.[24] Most drastic improvements are usually noticed within the first 3-6 months, but rehabilitation may continue for much longer.[24][28] To ensure maximum recovery, rehabilitation should begin as soon as possible after a stroke. Studies have shown that those who began rehabilitation earlier had better functional outcomes than patients who started rehabilitation later.[29] In addition, patients who undergo more intensive rehabilitation have been shown to have better and faster improvement with activities of daily living.[29]

Most stroke patients receive integrated treatment from a rehabilitation team and may require multiple types of therapy.[28]

[edit] Physical Therapy

A Physical Therapist is almost always part of the rehabilitation team, and he or she works with the patient to increase range of motion and to maintain muscle tone of the affected limb.[24] Physical Therapists may also teach exercises that the family can work on with the patient or that the patient can do themselves when they are released from the hospital. For patients with partial paralysis, physiotherapy may also include learning to walk again.[24]

[edit] Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy

Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) is a type of rehabilitation therapy in which patients are forced to use their affected limb by restraining the good limb.[30] It is suggested that the repetitive and forced movement of the disabled limb causes neurons to take on their old function. CIMT has been shown to improve a patient’s ability to complete activities of daily living and has been shown to be effective even for patients who have suffered from paralysis for several years.[30] (For a video demonstration of Constraint Induced Movement Therapy, see the video on the left.)

[edit] Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists work with stroke patients to accomplish aspects of everyday living such as dressing, bathing and eating.[24] To help patients accomplish these tasks to the best of their ability, the occupational therapist may suggest helpful modifications to compensate for their loss.[24] Examples of these modifications may include suggesting Velcro shoes and installing handrails throughout the home. If the patient has recovered enough, the occupational therapist may also try to help them find a way to start working again.[24]

[edit] Speech and Language Therapy

Speech therapy usually starts in the hospital where therapists elicit yes/no answers from the patient, either verbally or through non-verbal methods.[24] Speech and Language Therapists strive to teach the patient to communicate to the best of their ability. Patients may be taught to use specific communication aids such as gestures, repetition or pointing to pictures.[24] Speech and Language Therapists also assess swallowing ability of the patient and help with management if problems are found.[28]

[edit] Other Therapy Types

The patient may benefit from the help of a psychologist, who can help manage any depression that the patient may be experiencing and can help both the patient and their family adapt to life after a stroke. A dietitian may be required to make changes to a patient's intake to ensure they are getting sufficient nutrients. A pharmacist may also be an asset to the rehabilitation team in prescribing, managing and timing medications with meals and from having adverse interactions with eachother.[25]

[edit] Conclusion

A stroke is an unexpected occurrence that can happen at any time throughout the lifespan, however strokes more commonly affect older aged people. Although there is no way of knowing when a stroke may occur, preventable measures such as following a healthy diet and increasing the amount of exercise, should be implemented to reduce the risk of stroke. The two kinds of stroke that occur most frequently are ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, both of which prevent the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.

The implications of a stroke include paralysis, communication loss, and the reduction of motor abilities. The overall quality of life of the individual experiences can also be affected, and many individuals suffer from depression post-stroke. The effects of a stroke are life-changing to both the individual, and the individual's family and friends. With support, treatment, and lifestyle changes the patient can make progress toward recovery. Individuals should be included in the decisions regarding rehabilitation as much as possible.[24] Recovery of the individual depends on various factors such as; the site of injury, general health of the individual, personality, will, family support, and the quality of care received.[24]

[edit] Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Kalat , J. (2009). Biological psychology. (10th ed.). Belmont(CA): Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Westerby, R. (2011). Stroke and TIA. Practice Nurse, 41(13), 30-37.
  3. Hankey, G. J. (2005). Preventable stroke and stroke prevention. Journal of Thrombosis & Haemostasis, 3(8), 1638-1645.
  4. Mok, V. C., Wong, A., Lam, W. W., Baum, L. W., Ng, H. K., & Wong, L. (2008). A case-controlled study of cognitive progression in Chinese lacunar stroke patients. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery, 110(7), 649-656.
  5. Shen, A., Chen, W., Yao, J., Brar, S., Wang, X., & Go, A. (2008). Effect of race/ethnicity on the efficacy of Warfarin: Potential implications for prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. CNS Drugs, 22(10), 815-826.
  6. Todo, K., Moriwaki, H., Saito, K., & Naritomi, H. (2009). Frequent premature atrial contractions in stroke of undetermined etiology. European Neurology, 61(5), 285-288.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 Romero, J. (2007). Prevention of ischemic stroke: Overview of traditional risk factors. Current Drug Targets, 8(7), 794-801.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Chih-Ying, W., Hung-Ming, W., Jiann-Der, L., & Hsu-Huei, W. (2010). Stroke risk factors and subtypes in different age groups: A hospital-based study. Neurology India, 58(6), 863-868.
  9. Chalmers, J., & Chapman, N. (2001). Challenges for the prevention of primary and secondary stroke. The importance of lowering blood pressure and total cardiovascular risk. Blood Pressure, 10(5/6), 344-351.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Lüders, S. (2007). Drug therapy for the secondary prevention of stroke in hypertensive patients: Current issues and options. Drugs, 67(7), 955.
  11. Sokol, S. I., Kapoor, J. R., & Foody, J. M. (2006). Blood pressure reduction in the primary and secondary prevention of stroke. Current Vascular Pharmacology, 4(2), 155-160.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Statistics Canada. (2011). Diabetes by age group and sex. (Table 502-0002). Retrieved from
  13. Statistics Canada. (2011).Smokers, by age group and sex. (Table 602-0992). Retrieved from
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Wolff, T., Miller, T., & Ko, S. (2009). Aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular events: An update of the evidence for the U.S. preventive services task force. Annals of Internal Medicine, 150(6), 405-W.72.
  15. Raju, N., Sobieraj-Teague, M., Hirsh, J., O'Donnell, M., Eikelboom, J. (2011). Effect of Aspirin on mortality in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Medicine, 124(7), 621-629.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Vickers, C. (2010).Social networks after the onset of aphasia: The impact of aphasia group attendance. Aphasiology, 24(6-8), 902-913.
  17. Hyndman, D., Ashburn, A., Yardley, l., & Stack, E. (2006). Interference between balance, gait and cognitive task performance among people living with stroke in the community. Disability and Rehabilitation, 28(13-14), 849-856.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Ghika, J. (2005). In Recovery after stroke, edited by Barnes, Michael, Dobkin, Bruce H., Bogousslavsky, Julien, 259-285. New York(NY):Cambridge University Press.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Gbiri, C.A., Akinpelu, A.O., & Odole, A.C. (2010). Prevalence, pattern, and impact of depression on quality of life of stroke survivors. International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, 14(3), 198-203.
  20. Tariah, H.A., Hersch, G., & Ostwald, S.K. (2006). Factors associated with quality of life: Perspectives of stroke survivors. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 25(2), 33-50.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Alaszewski, A., Alaszewski, H., Potter, J., & Penhale, B. (2007) Working after a stroke: Survivors’ experiences and perceptions of barriers to and facilitators of the return to paid employment.Disability and Rehabilitation, 29(24), 1858-1869.
  22. 22.00 22.01 22.02 22.03 22.04 22.05 22.06 22.07 22.08 22.09 22.10 Buschenfeld, K., Morris, R., & Lockwood, S. (2009). The experiences of partners of young stroke survivors. Disability and Rehabilitation, 31(20), 1643-1651.
  23. Tooth, L., McKenna, K., Barnett, A., Prescott, C., & Murphy, S. (2005). Caregiver burden, time spent caring and health status in the first 12 months following stroke. Brain Injury, 19(12), 963-974.
  24. 24.00 24.01 24.02 24.03 24.04 24.05 24.06 24.07 24.08 24.09 24.10 24.11 24.12 Brass, L. (1992). Stroke. In B. L. Zaret, M. Mosner & L. S. Cohen (Eds.), Yale University School of Medicine heart book. New York: Hearst Books.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Rudd, A., Irwin, P.,& Penhale, B. (2005).Stroke: The comprehensive and medically accurate manual about stroke and how to deal with it. London: Class Publishing Ltd.
  26. Hacke, W., Kaste, M., Bluhmki, E.,, Brozman, M., Dávalos, A., Guidetti, D., Larrue, V., Lees, K. R. Md., Medeghri, Z., Machnig, T., Schneider, D., Von Kummer, R., Wahlgren, N., Toni, D., et al. (2008). Thrombolysis with alteplase 3 to 4.5 hours after acute ischemic stroke. The New England Journal of Medicine. 359(13), 1317-1329.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 Mohr, J. P. (2011). Stroke: Pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management. Philadelphia: Saunders.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Fawcus, R. (Ed.). (2000). Stroke rehabilitation: a collaborative approach. Massachusetts: Blackwell Science Ltd.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Hu, M., Hsu, S., Yip, P., Jeng, J., & Wang, Y. (2010). Early and intensive rehabilitation predicts good functional outcomes in patients admitted to the stroke intensive care unit. Disability and Rehabilitation, 32(15), 1251-1259.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Marklund, I., Klassbo, M., & Hedelin, B. (2010). “I got knowledge of myself and my prospects for leading and easier life”: Stroke patients’ experience of training with lower-limb CIMT. Advances in Physiotherapy, 12, 134-141.
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