Interventional Neurology, the Management of Stroke

Interventional neurology addresses the management of stroke with emphasis on treating neurological disorders, including diseases of the spinal cord, cerebrovascular diseases, and intracranial tumors. Physicians practicing in this specialty area work with neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, and neurologists.Interventional neurology addresses the management of stroke with emphasis on treating neurological disorders, including diseases of the spinal cord, cerebrovascular diseases, and intracranial tumors. Physicians practicing in this specialty area work with neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, and neurologists.

Neurointerventionists work to improve the care of stroke patients. They often participate in research trials and use evolving technologies to perform original research.

What is Neurointervention?

A neurointerventionist performs and interprets diagnostic spinal and cerebral angiography. He or she manages a variety of cerebrovascular disorders, such as aneurysm, intra-arterial thrombolysis, extracranial-intracranial stenting, AVM embolization, pre-epilepsy surgery, cerebral venography, cerebral-head and neck tumor angiograms, dural AV fistula treatment, WADA testing, presurgical tumor embolization, mechanical thrombectomy, and more.

Minimally invasive procedures are used to treat acute stroke, arteriovenous brain malformations, aneurysm, and endovascular treatment of the neck-brain blood vessels.

What is a Stroke?

A brain attack, commonly called stroke, occurs when a blood clot in the patient’s body blocks a specific blood vessel. After a burst blood vessel, blood flow may be interrupted to a specific part of the brain:

• A hemorrhagic stroke, or brain bleed, happens when a blood vessel breaks. This is a less common type of stroke.
• An ischemic stroke happens when a patient’s blood vessel is blocked. This is the form commonly experienced type of stroke.

What Happens to the Patient’s Brain after a Stroke?

Oxygen is needed by the brain to survive. When a stroke disrupts blood flood, cells in that part of the patient’s brain may die. Often, the cells die within just minutes to several hours after a stroke begins. As cells die, the chemicals released may cause other cells to die.

A small window of opportunity exists for the patient to receive treatment of an ischemic stroke. Most importantly, the sooner he or she goes to the emergency room, the better his or her chance to receive early treatment that either stops or lessens brain damage after a stroke.

When the patient’s brain cells die, some functions under the control of the brain may be lost, such as:
• Sensation
• Language
• Speech
• Movement

Specific abilities affected or lost depend on the location and/or size of the patient’s stroke. A person who experiences a small stroke may have only minimal effects, such as the weakness of his or her arm or leg. A patient experiencing a larger stroke may have paralysis or loss the ability to process or express language.

Although some patients completely recover from a minor stroke, others die from severe strokes.

What Are Some of the Risk Factors for Stroke?

A risk factor is a lifestyle practice or medical condition that may increase the patient’s chances of having a stroke. A risk factor may involve something the patient can change or something he or she can’t change, including gender, age, and race.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a key modifiable risk factor for stroke. Other risk factors include excessive alcohol intake, tobacco usage, drug use, high cholesterol, unhealthy diet, or lack of physical activity.