Female PT assisting an elderly female patient walking between parallel bars during a therapy session.

Strokes killed over 800 people in Singapore in 2021 alone. There are two main kinds of stroke. An ischemic stroke occurs when a vessel supplying blood to the brain is blocked or narrowed. Part of the brain then gets insufficient oxygen and brain cells die.

Dr. Manish Taneja

Stroke Specialist, Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic

Overview of Ischemic Stroke

Four in five strokes are ischemic. This type of stroke is more prevalent, but less dangerous, with mortality declining over time. However, strokes are becoming more common as the population ages. Read more about the different types of stroke in our other blog post. 

 

Ischemic Stroke

Ischemic strokes, which account for approximately 85% of strokes, are caused by lack of blood flow to the brain. An ischemic stroke occurs when a vessel supplying blood to the brain is blocked or narrowed. Part of the brain then gets insufficient oxygen and brain cells die. Symptoms depend on which part of the brain is impacted. Ischemic strokes can be “silent,” meaning they have no obvious symptoms, but increase your risk of future strokes and can cause progressive brain damage.

Ischemic stroke is most often caused by fatty deposits (plaque) blocking a blood vessel. This then leads to one of two kinds of obstruction:

  1. Cerebral thrombosis – a blood clot at the site of plaque deposits in the brain itself.
  2. Cerebral embolism – a blood clot that forms elsewhere in the body, breaks loose, and travels to the brain. This is often caused by atrial fibrillation, that is an irregular heartbeat, which can cause clots to form in the heart.

It’s recommended to receive ischemic stroke treatment in Singapore as soon as possible for the best results.

The second type of stroke is hemorrhagic stroke.
The first type of stroke is called ischemic stroke.

Symptoms of Ischemic Stroke

Ischemic stroke symptoms  include:

  • Numbness or weakness in face, arm, or leg. This is typically on one side of the body (the opposite side to the impacted part of the brain).
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Lack of coordination

All of these symptoms occur very suddenly. If somebody is having a stroke they need medical attention right away. When you suspect that you or a loved one are having a stroke, call 9-9-5 immediately for an ambulance.

Ischemic Stroke Causes

The major risk factors for ischemic stroke are:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Atrial fibrillation

All of these conditions increase the risk of clots forming in the brain or body, whether by increasing fatty deposits or increasing clot risk in general (such as high blood pressure). Quitting smoking and treating these conditions reduces your risk of having a stroke.

    Diagnosis of Ischemic Stroke

    Strokes are generally diagnosed with a brain scan, which can establish what kind of stroke you have had and locate the problem. In most cases, a CT scan is done, which is like a 3D X-ray of the brain. If more detail is needed, an MRI scan is used. Other tests are then done to confirm the cause of the stroke. These include a carotid ultrasound to look for blockages in the neck arteries and an echocardiogram to look for atrial fibrillation or other heart issues.

    Treatment needs to be done quickly, so in most cases a CT scan is done right away to locate the problem and start treatment before brain damage gets worse. The less damage, the more likely you are to recover fully. Ideally, go to an ischemic stroke specialist in Singapore for treatment and follow-up.

    Stroke Treatment Options and Management in Singapore

    Ischemic stroke is treated by removing the clot. There are two primary ways to do this.

    Medication

    If treatment is started quickly, a tissue plasminogen activator can be used to dissolve the clot. This is a medication that is administered through an IV in the arm and is much less invasive. However, many people don’t arrive at the hospital on time.

    Mechanical Thrombectomy

    A mechanical thrombectomy is a surgical way to remove the clot. Rather than going directly into the brain, surgeons use a stent retriever that is passed through a catheter inserted in the groin. The stent grabs the clot and pulls it out. An alternative is a suction tube. This needs to be done within six hours of symptom onset. Again, stroke treatment takes time. Some patients may receive both a mechanical thrombectomy and medication.

    Additional Stroke Treatments

    Most stroke patients need to be hospitalized as part of their treatment plan. Treatment plans also include:

    • Testing to identify the cause of the stroke.
    • Initiating treatment to prevent further strokes, such as medication to treat atrial fibrillation or assistance with smoking cessation.
    • Rehabilitation and physical therapy to restore previous mobility and speech.

    Once somebody has had a stroke, they are more vulnerable to further incidents, so it’s very important to follow prevention plans and avoid ischemic stroke causes in the future. If you or a loved one has had a stroke, our specialized ischemic stroke clinic in SIngapore can help. Contact us today to arrange your appointment.

    Mechanical Thrombectomy: Blood Clot Removal for Acute Stroke

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    The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic provides a full spectrum of neurointerventional treatments that seek to deal with  stroke-related issues. There are personalized treatment plans for stroke to improve your quality of life. Contact us today to see how we can help you on your stroke journey with our programs including stroke screening, management, and prevention.

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    Neurointerventional / Stroke Treatments

    The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various neurointerventional / stroke conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.