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Vasospasm Complication From Stroke

Published: 2011-07-16 - Updated: 2022-02-10
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Stroke Publications

Synopsis: Vasospasm occurs when a nearby blood vessel goes into spasm and constricts closing down the vessel and possibly leading to permanent brain damage or death. Sometimes a stroke patient can look like he or she is getting better. But as caregivers warn the family, there's a complication risk that can occur days later. It's catastrophic and heartbreaking for the family members. Clark says his research indicates that the metabolism of the blood changes following bleeding in the brain, with those chemical changes producing toxins that can change the way the brain and surrounding tissue behave. Those changes can lead to a number of conditions, including vasospasm.

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Main Digest

The commonly heard phrase complications from stroke can cover a wide variety of medical issues, including seizures and swelling of the brain. But one complication, known as vasospasm, is little known outside the medical community even though it's a life-threatening occurrence that has no proven effective method of treatment. In fact, an international convocation of physicians, researchers and nurses in Cincinnati later this month will attempt to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding vasospasm.

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A subarachnoid hemorrhage ( SAH ) is a type of stroke that occurs when an aneurysm in a blood vessel near the brain ruptures, causing bleeding in the area surrounding the brain (the subarachnoid space). Vasospasm (pronounced VAY-zoh-spasm) occurs when a nearby blood vessel goes into spasm and constricts, closing down the vessel and possibly leading to permanent brain damage or death.

"Vasospasm in a certain way is analogous to a second stroke after the first stroke," says Joe Clark, PhD, a professor in UC's neurology department whose research interests include causes of cerebral vasospasm. Clark is co-chair of Vasospasm 2011 along with Mario Zuccarello, MD, Frank H. Mayfield Professor and Chair of neurosurgery.

"As the name implies vaso meaning blood vessel and spasm meaning to contract the blood vessels constrict and that constriction can cause a second stroke and that can be lethal."

Clark says his research indicates that the metabolism of the blood changes following bleeding in the brain, with those chemical changes producing toxins that can change the way the brain and surrounding tissue behave. Those changes can lead to a number of conditions, including vasospasm.

"It's a devastating scenario," Clark says. "Sometimes a stroke patient can look like he or she is getting better. But as caregivers warn the family, there's a complication risk that can occur days later. It's catastrophic and heartbreaking for the family members."

Although there has been some progress in the past few decades, a proven way to treat vasospasm remains elusive making this month's conference all the more critical.

"We remain firmly committed to finding effective new treatments," says Zuccarello. "Vasospasm is a clear and obvious target because it is the leading, potentially treatable cause of death and disability following an aneurysm rupture."

Adds Clark:

"If we can come up with a prophylactic treatment what could be given after the initial hemorrhage that is safe and could prevent the complications afterward, that would be wonderful. That does not exist, but it's a huge component of what we're trying to do."

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Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2011, July 16). Vasospasm Complication From Stroke. Disabled World. Retrieved December 2, 2022 from www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/stroke/vasospasm.php

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