Stroke from Carotid Dissection
Alternate Names : Brain Attack, Stroke Following Carotid Dissection
What are the treatments for the condition?
A person with a stroke from carotid dissection is usually treated immediately
with the blood thinner heparin administered through the vein. After heparin,
another blood-thinning medication, warfarin, is taken orally.
If someone has the early warning signs of stroke, the emergency medical system should be contacted immediately.
These signs include a sudden onset of:
weakness or numbness of the face,
arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
trouble walking or loss of balance, known as ataxia
speech impairments, including
trouble speaking or understanding speech
Supportive therapy may also be needed with some strokes. This may include an artificial breathing machine, or
ventilator, and an artificial
feeding tube if the person cannot swallow.
Rehabilitation services can help to improve a person's function after a stroke.
Physical therapy and other therapy, such as speech
therapy or occupational therapy, may be used to maximize
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Excessive bleeding from the blood-thinning medications, or anticoagulants, is
possible. People need to avoid activity that may cause bruises or cuts, such as
rough sports or working with sharp tools.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
After the person is stable, treatment of the risk factors for stroke, as well
as the cause of the stroke, is important to prevent further strokes. For
instance, stopping smoking and controlling high blood pressure,
diabetes, and high cholesterol
are advised for most people.
Blood thinners such as warfarin may be discontinued in several months or a year
depending upon the results of a repeat imaging test. The healthcare provider
may discontinue these medications if the angiogram shows that the opening of
the carotid artery is unblocked so that enough blood can flow through the
artery. This is known as a patent artery and is considered to
be at least 50% of normal diameter with a smooth wall.
Many people need assistance of one form or another after a stroke. This may
range from using a walking cane to needing 24-hour-a-day skilled nursing
care. Ongoing therapy to improve function is usually advised for at least 6
months if the person is able.
How is the condition monitored?
If an individual takes blood thinners, blood tests are normally done to assure
the correct dose. These tests let a healthcare provider know if the person's
blood is too "thin" or too "thick," which may require a dosage adjustment. Any
new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.