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Description

A cerebral infarct that lasts longer than 24 hours but fewer than 72 hours is called a reversible ischemic neurologic deficit or RIND.

In thrombotic cerebral infarction a thrombus usually forms around atherosclerotic plaques. An embolic stroke refers to the blockage of an artery by an embolus, a traveling particle or debris in the arterial bloodstream originating elsewhere. An embolus is most frequently a thrombus, but it can also be a number of other substances including fat (e.g. from bone marrow in a broken bone), air, cancer cells or clumps of bacteria (usually from infectious endocarditis). The embolus may be of cardiac origin or from atherosclerotic plaque of another (or the same) large artery.

Risk factors for cerebral infarction are generally the same as for atherosclerosis: Diabetes, Tobacco smoking, Hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipoproteinemia, High blood pressure, Obesity.

Symptoms

Infarctions will result in weakness and loss of sensation on the opposite side of the body. Physical examination of the head area will reveal abnormal pupil dilation, light reaction and lack of eye movement on opposite side. If the infarction occurs on the left side brain, speech will be slurred. Reflexes may be aggravated as well.

Diagnosis and Tests

CT and MRI scanning will show damaged area in the brain, showing that the symptoms were not caused by a tumor, subdural hematoma or other brain disorder. The blockage will also appear on the angiogram.

Treatment

In last decade, similar to myocardial infarction treatment, thrombolytic drugs were introduced in the therapy of cerebral infarction. The use of intravenous rtPA therapy can be advocated in patients who arrive to stroke unit and can be fully evaluated within 3 h of the onset.

If cerebral infarction is caused by a thrombus occluding blood flow to an artery supplying the brain, definitive therapy is aimed at removing the blockage by breaking the clot down (thrombolysis), or by removing it mechanically (thrombectomy). The more rapidly blood flow is restored to the brain, the fewer brain cells die. In increasing numbers of primary stroke centers, pharmacologic thrombolysis with the drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), is used to dissolve the clot and unblock the artery. Another intervention for acute cerebral ischaemia is removal of the offending thrombus directly. This is accomplished by inserting a catheter into the femoral artery, directing it into the cerebral circulation, and deploying a corkscrew-like device to ensnare the clot, which is then withdrawn from the body. Mechanical embolectomy devices have been demonstrated effective at restoring blood flow in patients who were unable to receive thrombolytic drugs or for whom the drugs were ineffective

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