What is a Stroke - Terminology - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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The RIC Glossary of Stroke Terminology

brain scanStroke – What happens when not enough blood (and thus oxygen and nutrition) reaches a part of the brain. The medical term for stroke is cerebrovascular accident, or CVA. There are three types of strokes:

  • Thrombotic stroke – When a blood clot forms in an artery and blocks the flow of blood
  • Embolic stroke – When a blood clot forms in another part of the body and moves to the brain
  • Hemorrhagic stroke – When a weak blood vessel in the brain bursts and blood moves into the brain tissue. The brain cells and tissue do not receive oxygen and nutrients.

Aphasia – The loss or decreased ability to understand or use language to communicate. Strokes, trauma, or tumors affecting the left side or the language side of the brain frequently disrupt communication. The kinds of communication problems, as well as the severity, vary among individuals.

Apraxia – Difficulty in performing voluntary, purposeful movements. The difficulties are not due to damage to the muscles themselves but result from the brain’s inability to plan the movements and send the correct message to the muscles. There are many different types of apraxia.

Ataxia – Inability to coordinate muscle activity during voluntary movement. Therefore clumsy muscle movement occurs.

Cardiovascular System – Composed of the heart and blood vessels, is responsible for circulating blood throughout your body to supply the body with oxygen and nutrients.

Computed Tomography Scan – Also called a CT or CAT scan, is a procedure that can be used in diagnosing a stroke. This procedure uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs

Dysarthria – Difficulty with speech production. It can be caused by strokes, traumatic brain injuries, brain tumors, and some progressive diseases. The type and severity of the dysarthria will vary from person to person.

Dysphagia – Difficulty in swallowing. It can be caused by strokes, tumors of the brain or head & neck region, spinal cord injuries, and some progressive diseases.

Electroencephalogram (EEG) – A procedure that records the brain's continuous electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp.

Emotional Lability – An inability to monitor and/or control one's emotions. This commonly occurs after a stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain.

Hemiparesis – Weakness on only one side of the body.

Hemiplegia – Paralysis on only one side of the body.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) A diagnostic procedure that can be used in diagnosing a stroke. MRI uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

Neglect – Sometime called one-side neglect, a change that often occurs after a stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain. Individuals may have difficulty being aware of things to their left due to visual, sensory, or perceptual loss.

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