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Stroke is defined as any disease process that interrupts blood flow to the brain. Ischemic strokes (87%) are more common than hemorrhagic intracerebral (10%) and a traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) (3%) (Table 141-1). A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a transient neurologic deficit that typically lasts less than 1 to 2 hours, but duration can no longer be used to discriminate between TIA and stroke; they are best thought of as similar disease processes on a continuum.

Table 141-1 Stroke Classification

Specific findings in stroke patients depend on regions of the brain that are compromised and the severity of the insult (Table 141-2). It is important to remember that stroke presentation can vary considerably from classically described syndromes.

Table 141-2 Symptoms of Stroke

If the anterior cerebral artery is involved, the typical symptoms include contralateral leg weakness and sensory changes. A classic middle cerebral artery stroke presents with hemiparesis (arm > leg), facial plegia, and sensory loss. Weakness in the lower half of the face (variable) and ipsilateral gaze ...

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