A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is disrupted, causing brain cells to die.

A stroke is a medical emergency. Anyone suspected of having a stroke should be taken to a medical facility immediately for evaluation and treatment. A stroke can become worse despite an early arrival at the hospital and appropriate medical treatment. It is not unusual for a stroke and a heart attack to occur at the same time or in very close proximity to each other. Studies are currently being run on new drugs that dissolve arterial blood clots. New medications are also being tested that help slow the degeneration of the nerve cells that are deprived of oxygen during a stroke. These drugs are referred to as "neuroprotective" agents, an example of which is sipatrigine. Another example is chlormethiazole, which works by modifying the expression of genes within the brain. Stem cells, which have the potential to develop into a variety of different organs, are also being used to try to replace brain cells damaged by a previous stroke. In many academic medical centers some of these experimental agents may be offered in the setting of a clinical trial. While new therapies for the treatment of patients after a stroke are on the horizon, they are not yet perfect and may not restore complete function to a stroke victim.

Have you or a Loved one Suffered a Stroke?

In the United States, stroke is the third most common health related cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. The cost of strokes is not just measured in the billions of dollars lost in work, hospitalization, and the care of survivors in nursing homes. The major cost or impact of a stroke is the loss of independence that occurs in 30% of the survivors. What was a self-sustaining and enjoyable lifestyle may lose most of its quality after a stroke and other family members can find themselves in a new role as caregivers.

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