Starting with A for "ACE inhibitor" and continuing through to Y for "Yolk Sac Tumour", we give you succinct explanations for scientific and medical terms in clear and simple words.
- Strokealso known as apoplexy or apoplectic insult
1. Ischaemic or dry cerebral infarction as a result of marked impairment or disappearance of arterial perfusion of areas of the brain. These make up about 80 % of strokes and are fatal in ca. 20 % of cases. Causes: Mostly embolism, initiated by arteriosclerotic changes (cf. arteriosclerosis) or from the heart (cardiac embolism). Rare causes include thrombosis which develops at the site of the cerebral infarct. Symptoms: Acute, depend on the vessels affects. The most frequent type of infarct is in the area served by the middle brain artery with paralysis on one side, loss of feeling and sometimes speech problems. 2. Primary wet stroke (ca. 20 % of cases, fatal in ca. 50 % of cases). This occurs after a cerebral artery has been torn open. Causes: Mostly vessel disease from arterial hypertension or hypertension. Rarer causes include abnormal coagulation with a tendency to bleed or malformation of the arteries. Symptoms: Mostly sudden, as in the ischaemic stroke, particularly loss of consciousness and headache. The two types of stroke may only be distinguished by computer tomography.
Neurological investigation, computer tomography of the brain (massive bleeding or cerebral infarct, site), ultrasound diagnosis (Doppler or duplex sonography) of the vessels serving the brain (constriction or occlusion)
Treatment should preferably in a clinic which specialises in stroke patients. Monitoring of breathing and circulation, early physiotherapy, in cases of ischaemic brain infarct, adjustment of the systolic blood pressure to more than 150 mm Hg, normalisation of blood sugar and reduction in fever, perhaps treatment of cerebral oedema, perhaps thrombolysis (dissolution by drugs of a blood clot) within the first 3-6 hours, perhaps operation if there is massive intracerebral bleeding or expanding infarct.
Glossary entries: Roche and Walter de Gruyter, Berlin