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Cerebral ischemia - Definition


Ischemia defines the interruption of all or part of the blood circulation to an organ or tissue of an individual. Cerebral ischemia affects an artery of the brain and is responsible for irreversible brain damage in cases of prolonged interruption which requires emergency care. It can be due to advanced atherosclerosis, arterial embolism, meaning the migration of a clot that will block an artery or diseases affecting small arteries. Stroke is the classic presentation of cerebral ischemia. This can appear as neurological signs such as motor or sensory affecting part or a whole side of the body, speech or recognition disorders; it can appear suddenly or worsen rapidly, and progress into a coma. The clinical signs are used to make the diagnosis, and brain imaging is performed. If the arterial flow is restored quickly, irreversible brain damage can be avoided, but many side-effects are still common.