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Diseases & Conditions

Stroke Glossary

Angiography: An invasive procedure that uses x-ray imaging to detect blockage or narrowing in blood vessels.

Aphasia: The loss of ability to communicate normally resulting from brain damage, typically to the left side of the brain.

Apraxia: A neurological disorder exemplified by the inability to carry out familiar movements when commanded to do so. Persons with apraxia understand such commands, and are willing to carry them out, but are physically unable to perform the task.

Atherosclerosis: Hardening of the arteries.

Atrial fibrillation: An irregular heart rhythm in which many impulses begin and spread through the atria. The resulting rhythm is disorganized, rapid and irregular and the atria (upper chambers of the heart) are not able to fully empty their contents in to the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart).

Carotid angioplasty: A non-surgical procedure in which a balloon catheter is guided to the area of the blockage or narrowing. When the balloon is inflated, the fatty plaque or blockage is compressed against the artery walls to improve blood flow.

Carotid artery: The artery that supplies blood to the brain.

Carotid endarterectomy: Procedure to remove plaque from the carotid artery.

Carotid ultrasound: A non-invasive ultrasound method used to examine blood circulation.

Clinical trial: A research program conducted with patients to evaluate a new medical treatment, drug or device.

Cognition: A mental process that includes thinking.

Diastolic blood pressure: The minimum arterial pressure during relaxation and dilation of the heart’s ventricles when they fill with blood. The diastolic pressure is the second number in a blood pressure reading.

Dysarthria: Slurred or garbled speech as a result of muscle weakness or incoordination.

Dysphagia: A swallowing disorder that is often noted in stroke survivors.

Embolus: A blood clot that forms in another part of the body, such as the neck or lining of the heart, and travels to the brain.

Endarterectomy: The surgical removal of plaque from an artery.

Hemiparesis: Weakness on one side of the body.

Hemiplegia: A total or partial paralysis of one side of the body.

Hemorrhagic stroke: This type of stroke takes place when a weakened blood vessel in the brain ruptures. A hemorrhage, or bleeding from the blood vessel, occurs suddenly. The force of blood that escapes from the blood vessel can also damage surrounding brain tissue. Hemorrhagic stroke is the most serious kind of stroke.

Hyperlipidemia: High cholesterol.

Hypertension: High blood pressure.

Ischemic stroke: Type of stroke that occurs when a blood vessel in the brain develops a clot and cuts off the blood supply to the brain. Blood clots often result from a condition called "atherosclerosis," the build-up of fatty deposits within blood vessel walls.

Lability: Emotional lability causes uncontrolled, spontaneous reactions (including crying or laughing) that occur for no apparent reason. Lability is a physical condition in the brain.

Locomotion: The act of getting from place to place by methods such as walking, using a wheelchair, climbing stairs, etc.

LTAC: Stands for long-term acute care.

Mobility: Capability of movement or of being moved. Examples include moving in bed, getting up from a chair or sitting on a toilet.

Paralysis: Inability to move part of the body.

Reperfusion: The restoring of blood flow to an organ after blood flow had been cut off.

Skilled nursing facility: Facility that offers services including long-term nursing care and rehabilitation.

Stenting" In this procedure, a small, metal mesh tube called a stent is placed in an artery during angioplasty.

Systolic blood pressure: The blood pressure that is recorded when the heart muscles are contracting. The systolic pressure is the first number in a blood pressure reading.

Thrombus: A blood clot that forms in a blood vessel in the brain.

TPA: Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) is a thrombolytic agent, or “clot buster” medication, that can dissolve a blockage within an artery to restore blood flow to the brain.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA):A TIA occurs when blood flow to a certain part of the brain is cut off for a short period of time, usually 15 minutes or less. A TIA is a warning sign that something is wrong. It should be treated as seriously as a stroke.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/20/2012...#13490