The stroke

This is an important medical condition. It occurs when the blood does not reach part of the brain This can be caused by a clot blocking an artery - this is an ischaemic stroke. This means that blood cannot get to parts of the brain and nerve cells are damaged. Strokes often cause problems with movement of the limbs, loss of feeling, speech or vision.

An artery is a blood vessel which carries blood from the heart to the tissues. The blood in the arteries is bright red because it contains lots of oxygen.

A stroke can also be caused by a burst artery which causes a bruise to form on the brain - this is a haemorrhagic stroke.

The parts of the body that are impaired by the stroke will depend on the area of the brain where the damage has occured


What happens?

When a stroke occurs, medical professionals work together to determine the kind of stroke, what may have caused the stroke and what can be done to treat it. A look inside the brain through the use of MRI or another type of scan can assess damage to the brain, and ultrasound and other tests that examine the blood vessels can provide additional clues. With ultrasound, images are taken using an ultrasound device that emits sound waves at very high frequencies. These images reveal how well or how poorly the blood is flowing. This technique is employed in the CLOTS trials to detect any clots or DVTs (deep vein thrombosis) that may occur in the limbs when a person is immobile for any length of time because of the stroke.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Thrombosis is a medical word meaning a clot of blood. A deep vein thrombosis is where a clot forms in the veins deep within the leg. The CLOTS trials aim to find out whether graduated compression stockings or intermittent pneumatic pressure reduce the risk of a person admitted to hospital with a stroke developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

A vein is a blood vessel which carries blood from the tissues of the body to the heart. Blood in veins is usually darker than that in arteries because the tissues have removed most of the oxygen.

These clots can be very dangerous if they travel up the vein to the heart or lungs. When the clot travels to the lungs this is called a Pulmonary Embolus.