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Catastrophic stroke - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Stroke
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2408 Questions
User :   Hello, my husband, aged 50 died last week from a left hemisphere cerebral infarct. He had been in bed all day because he was sick the night before and I thought he was sleeping, when I went up I found him very difficult to wake although he tried to open his eyes when i called his name. He died the next day. The hospital said he had a catasphophic stroke. Did the damage happen instantly or did it gradually get worse during the day, and would he have been aware
Doctor :   Hi
User :   Hello
Doctor :   It is difficult to predict this now without a brain scan.
Doctor :   But theoretically the posibility is that the damage mush have happened instantly.
Doctor :   Did he complain of symptoms such as headache, vomiting, dizziness, weakness of limbs, slurring of speech, difficulty to swallow or any other symptoms before he passed away?
User :   During the night before he was sick, but as some members of the family had had a sickness bug the previous week I didn't really take much notice, but no other symptoms apart from a headache, but he often had these
Doctor :   May I know if the cause was confirmed as cerebral infarct?
User :   it was on the left hemisphere
Doctor :   Or did you mean he had suffered from a cerebral infarct before he expired?
User :   this is what it states on the death certificate
Doctor :   Ok
Doctor :   Let me explain to you.
Doctor :   Death occurs due to cardiorespiratory arrest.
Doctor :   2 most important conditions that can cause such unexpected events are a heart attack
Doctor :   and a massive stroke.
Doctor :   The first being more commoner than the later.
Doctor :   Having said this, if the stroke was a very large one involving the areas of brain stem and other vital areas
Doctor :   the might have happened instantly and not gradually.
Doctor :   and there are very less chance that he could have been aware of it.
Doctor :   Have you followed what I have suggested?
User :   yes i think so. my guilt is that i left him when if i had found him sooner less damage would have happened and his chances of survival would have increased.
Doctor :   Let me tell you one thing.
Doctor :   According to my previous experiences in the field of neurology and emergency medicine, such events happen so unexpectedly
Doctor :   that very less can be done at the moment.
Doctor :   Yes, this could have been prevented, if he were to be screened for the risk factors that triggered it.
Doctor :   High sugar, obesity, hypertension, smoking being those risk factors.
Doctor :   The chance of survival from such events depend on how large the stroke was, the areas involved in the infarct and the time since it happened.
Doctor :   A massive stroke affecting vital areas leads to abrupt cessation of heart and breathing leading to death almost instantly or in less than 6 minutes.
Doctor :   Hope I am clear to you.
Doctor :   Are you there?
User :   Am i right in saying that a cerebral infarct is when the brain is already dead and that he died a day later after his heart stopped. I would not have wanted him to stay alive and be terribly disabled like the hospital stated as he had a catasphophic stroke. All i need to know is was it catasphophic when the stroke striked or did it progress that way due to the time delay before getting to hospital.
Doctor :   Cerebral infarct scientifically means there is ischemia (lack of blood and oxygen) of the brain.
Doctor :   This doesn't mean brain dead in which a patient remain unconscious with other organs working.
Doctor :   I guess you wanted to know about this.
Doctor :   A catastrophic stroke would refer to infarction of most areas of the brain including the vital areas the control the breathing and heart functions.
Doctor :   In such events,
Doctor :   heart and respiration ceases to function almost instantly or withing a few seconds to minutes
Doctor :   and death occurs almost in a few seconds following the events.
Doctor :   The individual will not be conscious to experience the symptoms that occur following the stroke a
Doctor :   I hope I have cleared your doubt.
Doctor :   Are you there?
Doctor :   * death occur instantly or utmost in a few minutes following massive stroke
User :   I am. Sorry I am not clear. My husband had the stroke some time during the morning of 22nd and did not die (with the help of morphine) until the afternoon of the 23rd.
Doctor :   as heart functions and respiration ceases.
Doctor :   Oh.
Doctor :   Since you initially reported that he didn't suffer a stroke before the time he went to bed on the final day, I had to comment that way.
Doctor :   Now since you mention that he had suffered the stroke a day before
Doctor :   death occur gradually
Doctor :   as the infarction area increases.
Doctor :   Death can also follow if there is compression/pressure effects due to swelling that can develop due to the initial infarct.
Doctor :   In both the circumstances, as more areas gets involved and more vital areas gets involved, death results.
Doctor :   I* death occurs.
User :   I understand that. Let me clarify what I am needing to know. I found my husband in a deep sleep and only able to get him to open his eyes when I shook him and called his name otherwise he was unresponsive. Would this had been how he was since the massive stroke striked or would he have been aware of what was happening to him. I understand that he died because of the damage to the brain and the swelling that it caused but the only answer I need is had I been there when the stroke happened and got him to hospital immediately would the damage already had been done to his brain or does it deterioate
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