Cerebral infarction also referred to as ischemic stroke occurs when blood vessels supplying blood to the brain get disturbed thus interrupting the flow of blood. There are two types of cerebral infarction and include embolic and atherothrombotic. In at least 40% of the cases reported, the cause of cerebral infarction is not determined.
Infarction symptoms vary in accordance to part of the brain that is affected. For instance, if the infarct is situated in the motor primary cortex then contralateral hemiparesis occurs. With localization of brainstem, brainstems syndromes are common and include Weber’s syndrome, Wallenberg’s syndrome, Benedikt syndrome, Millard Gubler syndrome and others. Infarctions often result to sensation loss on opposite side of the body and weakness.
When a physical examination is carried out on the head area, it can reveal abnormal dilation of the pupil, lack of movement of the eye in the opposite direction and light reaction. If the cerebral infarction is on the left part of the brain, speech becomes slurred and on top of this, reflexes tend to be aggravated. Supply of blood is interrupted in a couple of ways some of which include:
Blockage of an artery supplying blood
Mechanical artery compression as a result of hernia or tumor
Artery rapture because of trauma
Often, cerebral infarction is associated with high blood pressure or atherosclerosis. Once the supply of blood to the brain is interrupted reactions known as ischemic cascades occur in series within minutes. These can continue for a couple of hours and in some cases, they might even last for a couple of days. Once blood supply gets restored, the vulnerability of the brain is still at risk for the simple reason there exists reperfusion injury possibility.
During episodes of cascade oxygen deprivation, the brain tissues lack ATP. ATP pumps fail and this allows massive calcium ion influx in the cells resulting to reactive oxygen generation as well as free radicals and other chemicals that are harmful. Cells start dying via necrosis and this triggers a response that is inflammatory and which further brain tissue damage.
Ischemic cascade occurs in any tissue though the one that is most vulnerable is the brain because it is completely dependent on aerobic metabolism. Generally, the risk factors are similar to those of atherosclerosis and include tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, dyslipidemia and diabetes mellitus. These stated risk factors should be controlled in order to prevent the occurrence of a stroke.
Whether cerebral infarction is embolic or thrombotic is based on observed conditions or pathophysiology and underlying conditions disease mechanisms. Treatment might include removing an embolus or thrombosis or breaking it down as well as administering of medication to prevent any further clots.
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