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  • What is a Stroke?

    There are two types of stroke, ischemia and hemorrhagic. Both occur when an area of the brain is deprived of its blood supply, usually due to a blocked or ruptured blood vessel. This deprivation results in damage to the brain. It’s similar to what happens in the arteries leading to the heart when someone has a heart attack. This is why it’s sometimes described as a “brain attack.”
    An ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, accounting for approximately 75-80 percent of all strokes. It is caused by a blocked artery interrupting the brain’s blood supply. An ischemic stroke can occur in two ways, embolic or thrombotic.  The former happens when a blood clot or plaque fragment forms in the body and travels to the brain. It becomes lodged in a blood vessel too small to pass through. The latter occurs when a blood clot forms inside one of the arteries that supplies blood to the brain or inside an artery within the brain itself.

    A hemorrhagic stroke accounts for approximately 20 percent of all strokes. One common cause of a hemorrhage is an aneurysm or a weak spot in the wall of a blood vessel within the brain. Once the aneurysm bursts, blood escapes from the damaged blood vessel. A hemorrhage can also occur when arterial walls break open. Plaque-encrusted arterial walls eventually lose elasticity, become brittle and are prone to crack. This causes pressure and swelling that compresses surrounding brain tissue, resulting in damage and death to brain cells that can cause lasting neurologic complications.

    What deficits or impairments are caused by a stroke?

    The deficits and impairments caused by a stroke depend on the stroke type, the extent of damage to the brain and the part of the brain in which the damage occurred.

    In most people, a stroke on the right side of the brain can cause:

    • Paralysis on the left side of body
    • Left-sided neglect: lack of awareness of the left side of the body
    • Spatial-perceptual deficits: inability to understand and interpret between self and other objects
    • Lack of insight into deficits: unawareness of how deficits or symptoms impact current function
    • Impulsive behavior and safety problems
    • Impaired judgment

    In most people, a stroke on the left side of the brain can cause:

    • Paralysis on the right side of the body
    • Impaired speech and language
    • Impaired right/left discrimination: inability to distinguish right from left or one side of the body being distinct from the other
    • Awareness of deficits: depression, anxiety
    • Impaired comprehension related to language and math
    • Diminished understanding, expression and ability to perform language, reading and writing tasks

    What is stroke rehabilitation?

    Recovering from a stroke can be one of the greatest challenges a person will face. However, research shows that an early and specialized stroke rehabilitation plan of care can optimize an individual’s physical and cognitive recovery, ultimately enhancing quality of life.

    Studies also indicate that where a stroke survivor goes for treatment can make a difference in recovery. TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital delivers a comprehensive program of medical, nursing and therapy services to address the needs of each stroke patient successfully.

    This goal-directed approach enables patients to:

    • Restore physical function and enhance the skills needed to perform daily activities
    • Build strength, improve balance and regain mobility
    • Improve speech and swallowing
    • Develop new cognitive and behavioral strategies to compensate for deficits

    Stroke rehabilitation often requires health care professionals from several disciplines – a multidisciplinary team – to address the many functions that can be affected by a stroke. Our team of physicians, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, dietitians and other support staff work together to help patients reach their goals and reach the best outcome possible.