What is an Ischemic Cerebrovascular Stroke?

What is an Ischemic Cerebrovascular Stroke?

Discover the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for ischemic cerebrovascular stroke in this comprehensive article.

What is an Ischemic Cerebrovascular Stroke?

An ischemic cerebrovascular stroke, also known as a brain ischemia, is a condition that occurs when there is an insufficient blood flow to the brain to meet metabolic demand. This leads to poor oxygen supply or cerebral hypoxia and eventually to the death of brain tissue or cerebral infarction/ischemic stroke. But what causes this condition? What are its symptoms, and how is it diagnosed and treated? This comprehensive guide will answer all these questions and more.

Causes of Ischemic Cerebrovascular Stroke

Ischemic strokes are primarily caused by blockages or clots in the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. These blockages can occur in two ways: either through a thrombotic stroke, where the clot forms in a blood vessel within the brain, or an embolic stroke, where the clot forms elsewhere in the body and travels to the brain.

These blockages are often caused by underlying conditions that affect the blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), or heart conditions like atrial fibrillation. In some cases, ischemic strokes can also be caused by inflammatory conditions that damage blood vessels, such as vasculitis, or blood disorders that increase clotting, such as sickle cell disease.

Causes of Ischemic Cerebrovascular Stroke

Thrombotic Stroke

A thrombotic stroke occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, forms in an artery that supplies blood to the brain. The clot blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, leading to damage or death of brain cells. Thrombotic strokes are most often caused by atherosclerosis, a disease in which fatty deposits build up on the inner walls of arteries.

There are two types of thrombotic strokes: large vessel thrombosis and small vessel disease/lacunar infarction. Large vessel thrombosis is the most common type of thrombotic stroke, and it often occurs in the larger arteries. Small vessel disease/lacunar infarction, on the other hand, affects one or more of the smaller arteries in the brain.

Embolic Stroke

An embolic stroke occurs when a blood clot or other debris forms elsewhere in the body and is swept through the bloodstream to the arteries in the brain. If the clot or debris becomes lodged in one of these arteries, it can block blood flow and cause a stroke.

Embolic strokes are often caused by heart conditions, such as atrial fibrillation, which can cause blood to pool in the heart and form clots. These clots can then be carried through the bloodstream to the brain. Other causes of embolic strokes include endocarditis (an infection of the heart's inner lining) and the use of certain medications, such as birth control pills, which can increase the risk of clotting.

Symptoms of Ischemic Cerebrovascular Stroke

The symptoms of an ischemic stroke depend on the area of the brain that's affected. However, all strokes require immediate medical attention, so it's important to recognize the signs. The most common symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache with no known cause.

These symptoms can occur individually or in combination. They can be mild or severe, and they can last a few minutes or several hours. If you or someone else experiences these symptoms, it's important to seek medical help immediately, even if the symptoms go away. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke, can have similar symptoms but usually lasts only a few minutes. However, a TIA is often a warning sign of a full-blown stroke and should not be ignored.

How to Test for Ischemic Cerebrovascular Stroke?

Ischemic strokes are diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, medical history, and diagnostic tests. These tests may include a CT scan or MRI of the brain to visualize the affected area and the blockage, blood tests to check for clotting factors or infection, and possibly a cerebral angiogram to view the arteries in the brain.

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment will focus on restoring blood flow to the brain. This is usually done with medications to break up or prevent blood clots, such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). In some cases, a procedure may be needed to remove the clot or to open up the blocked artery. This could include a mechanical thrombectomy, where a device is used to physically remove the clot from the artery, or a carotid endarterectomy, where plaque is removed from the carotid artery to restore blood flow.

After the immediate crisis is over, treatment will focus on preventing future strokes. This may involve medications to control risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, as well as lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol intake.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Ischemic Cerebrovascular Stroke

Blood Tests for Ischemic Cerebrovascular Stroke

Here are some of the key blood tests recommended for assessing and managing ischemic cerebrovascular stroke:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC) - Checks for anemia, infections, bleeding disorders or other blood cell abnormalities.
  2. Basic Metabolic Panel - Measures sodium, potassium, chloride, CO2, kidney function, and glucose levels. Determines baseline organ function.
  3. Lipid Profile - Calculates total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides to gauge risks of fat deposits in blood vessels.
  4. C-Reactive Protein - Highlights inflammation levels in the body which accelerate atheroma development in arteries.
  5. BNP Blood Test – Screens congestive heart issues which raise clotting and stroke chances. Checks levels of B-type natriuretic peptide.
  6. Thrombophilia Panel – Specialized tests checking genetic risk factors making abnormal blood clotting and stroke more likely. Confirms hypercoagulability if present.

Tracking these laboratory biomarkers aids in quickly assessing the mechanism, diagnosing with accuracy, and devising targeted stroke prevention therapies customized to the individual’s risks. Ongoing monitoring then optimizes prevention of recurrent cerebrovascular ischemia over the long term.

Can an ischemic stroke be reversed?

In some cases, immediately starting intravenous clot-dissolving medication called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) post-stroke may help reverse paralysis and disability from blood-deprived brain cell death before permanent damage. Seeking urgent evaluation gives the best shot of recovery.

How do you prevent an ischemic stroke?

Key steps to help prevent ischemic strokes blocking arteries involve controlling high blood pressure, diabetes management, lowering cholesterol, eating healthier, exercising, restricting smoking/alcohol, and treating related issues like sleep apnea, atrial fibrillation, and carotid artery narrowing which raise clotting risks.


Ischemic cerebrovascular stroke is a serious medical condition that requires immediate attention. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options can help you recognize a stroke and seek prompt treatment, which can greatly improve outcomes. Remember, every minute counts when it comes to stroke treatment, so don't delay in seeking help if you or someone else exhibits stroke symptoms.

All material copyright healthcare nt sickcare. Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy of use apply. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Our content is inspired by various online articles and our own offline experiences. It is meant to provide public awareness and regular updates to the clientele of healthcare nt sickcare.
© healthcare nt sickcare and healthcarentsickcare.com, 2017-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to healthcare nt sickcare and healthcarentsickcare.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.