Dictionary of Stroke Related Terms

A stroke is a complex situation anyways. Sometimes made more complex by a myriad of medical terms survivors and/or their families are faced with.

Here a listing of some such frequent stroke related terms. They will help the stroke affected and their families in understanding various aspects of the disease.

TermEasy Meaning
Acute StrokeA stage of stroke that starts at the beginning of symptoms and lasts for a few hours after
AgnosiaThe inability to process and recognize sensory information like recognizing objects, persons, shapes or smells. It is not memory loss
AneurysmA weak or thin spot of an artery wall that has stretched or ballooned out from the wall and filled with blood
AngiogramAn angiogram or arteriogram is an X-ray test that uses dye to demonstrate the arteries on a display device
AphasiaDifficulty understanding what is said, finding the words and putting words in sentences, and difficulty reading and writing words or sentences
Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)Unusual tangles of blood vessels that cause multiple irregular connections between the arteries and veins
ApraxiaWhen your brain has difficulty organizing muscle movements in the correct order
AtheromaFatty material that deposits inside arteries
AtherosclerosisA disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. This narrows the arteries and blocks blood flow to the brain, which increases the risk for a stroke
Atrial Fibrillation (also called AFib or AF)A heart rhythm disorder that can lead to the formation of blood clots that may cause a stroke
Basal gangliaA region of the base of the brain that consists of three clusters of neurons (caudate nucleus, putamen, and globus pallidus) that are responsible for involuntary movements such as tremors, athetosis, and chorea
B/L Internal carotid Artery StenosisBilateral Internal Carotid Artery Stenosis
BradycardiaA a condition wherein an individual has a slow heart rate, typically defined as a heart rate of under 60 beats per minute (BPM) in adults. Bradycardia typically does not cause symptoms until the rate drops below 50 BPM
Carotid arteryAn artery, located on either side of the neck, which supplies the front part of the brain with blood
Carotid AngioplastyA procedure that opens clogged arteries to prevent or treat stroke. The procedure involves temporarily inserting and inflating a tiny balloon where your carotid artery is clogged to widen the artery. Carotid angioplasty is often combined with the placement of a small metal coil called a stent in the clogged artery. The stent helps prop the artery open and decreases the chance of it narrowing again. Carotid angioplasty and stenting may be used when traditional carotid surgery isn’t feasible or is too risky.
Carotid Doppler TestA carotid Doppler test is used to detect narrowing of the arteries in the neck (the carotid arteries) that supply blood to the brain. During this test, these arteries are visualized using high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) for evidence of plaque (blockages). Analysis of the blood flow through the arteries by Doppler ultrasound permits accurate measurement of the degree of narrowing of the blood vessel. Ultrasound is not harmful in any way.
Carotid EndaterectomyCarotid endarterectomy is an operation during which your vascular surgeon removes the inner lining of your carotid artery if it has become thickened or damaged. This procedure eliminates a substance called plaque from your artery and can restore blood flow.
CCACommon Carotid Artery
Central Stroke Pain (Central Pain Syndrome)Pain that can occur after stroke as a result of damage to an area in the brain called the thalamus. The pain can be a mixture of sensations, including heat and cold burning,tingling, numbness, sharp stabbing and underlying aching pain.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)Clear fluid that bathes the brain and spine.Cerebrovascular Disease One or more diseases caused by blood flow (circulation) problems, such as blood flow restriction or a blockage or clot, in vessels that supply blood to the brain.
CholesterolA waxy substance produced naturally by the liver and also found in foods. Excess cholesterol leads to a buildup of plaque in the arteries and increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Cognitive ImpairmentDifficulty with thinking abilities such as paying attention, memory, communication and problem solving.
Coronary AngiographyA test that uses dye and special x rays to show the insides of your coronary arteries. The coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart.
CT HeadComputed Tomography ( CT Scan ) of the Head. CT scanning uses a series of x-rays of the head taken from many different directions. Typically used for quickly viewing brain injuries.
DepressionA medical condition in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interferes with everyday life for weeks or more and is common after a stroke.
DiabetesA disease that increases a person’s risk for stroke. The pancreas does not make enough insulin (a hormone that allows the body to absorb sugar). This prevents the body from properly processing food for use as energy and causes glucose (sugar) to build up in your blood.
DissectionA tear in the inside wall of a blood vessel that can block blood flow or cause blood clots that may cause a stroke.
DistalSituated away from the point of connection
DSADigital subtraction angiography (DSA) is a type of fluoroscopy technique used in interventional radiology to clearly visualize blood vessels
DTRDeep Tendon Reflex
DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)A blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body.It can cause a potentially life-threatening complication if the clot detaches and moves to the lungs resulting in a blockage known as a pulmonary embolism (PE).
DysarthriaDifficulty saying words clearly due to problems with muscle strength and coordination.
DysphagiaDifficulty with swallowing
ECAExternal Carotid Artery ( supplies neck and face)
EdemaSwelling
Embolic StrokeA stroke caused by an embolus (a free-floating mass traveling through the bloodstream). The embolus may be a blood clot (thrombus), a ball of fat, a bubble of air or other gas (gas embolism), or foreign material.
EmbolusA clot, plaque or other material that travels from one vessel in the body to another. A stroke caused by a clot that forms in the heart and then goes to the brain is called an embolic stroke or cardioemoblic stroke.
Endothelial wallA flat layer of cells that make up the inside lining of a blood vessel.
EOMEye Ocular Movement
HaemodynamicPertaining to Flow of blood
Hemiparesis & HemiplegiaHemiparesis is weakness of the entire left or right side of the body. Hemiplegia is its most severe form, complete paralysis of half of the body. Hemiparesis and hemiplegia can be caused by different medical conditions, including congenital causes, trauma, tumors, or stroke.
Hemorrhagic StrokeSudden bleeding into or around the brain. It is also called a brain hemorrhage, or brain bleed.
HyperlipidemiaHigh Cholestrol
High-density lipoprotein (HDL)Also known as “good cholesterol”. HDL helps move the “bad cholesterol” from the arteries back to the liver so it can break down and leave the body.
H/oHistory Of
HMFHigher Mental Functions
Hyperlipidemia (High Cholesterol)Too many lipids (fat) in the blood. Cholesterol and triglycerides (another fat) can form plaque between artery walls, causing a blockage or a clot that can travel throughout the body, and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)Persistently high arterial (artery) blood pressure. This means a measurement greater than or equal to 140 mm/Hg systolic (top number) pressure over 90 mm/Hg diastolic (bottom number) pressure.
HypoxiaA state of decreased oxygen delivery to a cell so that the oxygen falls below normal levels.
ICAInternal Carotid Artery ( supplies blood to brain via Middle Cerebral Artery – MCA)
InfarctAn area of tissue that is dead because of a loss of blood supply. Infarction A sudden loss of blood supply to tissue causing the tissue to die.
Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ICH)A type of stroke that occurs when a vessel within the brain leaks blood into the brain.
Ischemic PenumbraAreas of damaged but still living brain cells arranged in a patchwork pattern around areas of dead brain cells
IschaemiaIschemia, also spelled as ischaemia or ischæmiaa, is a restriction in blood supply to tissues causing a shortage of oxygen and glucose needed for cellular metabolism (to keep tissue alive).
Ischemic StrokeDamage to the brain caused by lack of blood flow usually from a clot.
Lacunar InfarctionBlockage of a small artery deep in the brain resulting in a small area of damaged brain tissue.
Large Vessel DiseaseAbnormalities in the large brain arteries
LCCLeft Common Carotid
LICLeft Internal Carotid
LOCLoss of consciousness
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)Also known as the “bad cholesterol”; a compound that carries most of the total cholesterol in the blood and deposits the excess along the inside of arterial walls.
LVEFLeft Ventricular Ejection Fraction – Echo Doppler test for Heart – a ratio of 55-70 % is normal
Micro hemorrhageA tiny area of bleeding in brain tissue
MI / Myocardial InfractionHeart attack
MRIMagnetic Resonance Imaging
MRI BrainMagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain is a safe and painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of the brain and the brain stem. An MRI differs from a CAT scan (also called a CT scan or a computed axial tomography scan) because it does not use radiation.
Muscle ToneContraction of a muscle or the muscles resistance to a stretch during a resting state.
Muscle TensionMuscles of the body remain semi-contracted for a period of time in the resting state.
NeuroplasticityThe potential for the brain to reorganize and adapt as needed by creating new neural pathways.
Non-critical CADNon critical Coronary Artery Disease
OccludeStop, closeup, obstruct
OrganomegalyAbnormal enlargement of organs
PACPreanesthetic assessment (also called Preanesthesia evaluation, Pre-anesthesia checkup (PAC) or simply Preanesthesia) is a medical check-up and laboratory investigations done by the anesthesiologist before an operation, to assess the patient’s physical condition and any other medical problems or diseases the patient might be suffering from.
Permissive HypertensionWhen blood pressure is allowed to rise for a short amount of time to ensure that damaged brain tissues receive enough blood flow.
PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale)A connection between the right and left sides of the heart that is needed to allow blood and oxygen to mix in the womb before birth.When the connection does not close after birth, it is a potential pathway for a clot to go to the heart and possibly cause a stroke.
PlateletsStructures found in blood that are known primarily for their role in blood clotting.
PneumoniaAn infection in one or both of the lungs.
Post Stroke FatigueOften confused with “being tired.” It arrives without warning and rest does not always make it better. It may feel like you are hitting the wall, physically, emotionally, and/or mentally.
ProximalSituated near to the point of attachment
Pulmonary Embolism (PE)A blockage of an artery in the lungs by a substance that has traveled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream. Severe cases can lead to passing out, abnormally low blood pressure, and sudden death.
RCARight Carotid Artery
RCCRight Common Carotid
RevascularizationRestoration of perfusion to an organ
RICRight Internal Ccarotid
Right MCARight Middle Cerebral Artery – starts from ICA and supplies blood to many brain parts
rtPAThe use of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) has been the standard of care for treatment of acute ischemic stroke.
SCD (Sickle Cell Disease)A disease where a sudden defective protein causes the red blood cells to become stiff instead of flexible and form a sickle or a crescent.
SeizureSudden, abnormal electrical activity in the brain which can result in loss of consciousness, muscle contractions or weakness.
Small vessel diseaseThickening and disease of tiny arteries deep in the brain.
SpasticityA condition in which there is an abnormal increase in muscle tone or stiffness of muscle, which might interfere with movement, speech, or cause discomfort or pain.
StenosisNarrowing of an artery due to the buildup of plaque within the artery.
StrokeOccurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells. There are two types of stroke: ischemic (clot) or hemorrhagic (bleeding).
Subarachnoid HemorrhageBleeding within the outer covering of the brain into the clear fluid that surrounds the brain.
ThrombolysisThe breakdown (lysis) of blood clots by clot busting agents.
ThrombosisThe formation of a blood clot in one of the brain arteries of the head or neck that stays attached to the artery wall until it grows large enough to block blood flow.
ThrombusA blood clot that forms in a vessel and remains there.
tPATissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) -also known as a clot buster- is a treatment for ischemic stroke. It is a blood thinner and hence not used for hemorrhagic strokes or head trauma. It breaks down the blood clots and helps restore blood flow to the brain. Being a powerful medication, it needs to be administered carefully by experienced personnel.
Total serum cholesterolA combined measurement of a person’s high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)Short-lived stroke symptoms that does not last and does no permanent damage.
Ulcerated PlaquePlaque is a collection of cholestorl and associated material on internal surfaces of arteries. If its surface is irregular like an ulcer, it is ulcerated. Ulcerated plaque is prone to development of clots.
VasospasmA problem that can occur after a brain bleed in which the blood vessels narrow and possibly cause ischemic stroke.
Vertebral arteryA major artery on either side of the neck that supplies blood to the back of the brain.

If there are any terms that you have come across pertaining to stroke and its management which are missed out above, please provide them in comments hereunder and we will add them

Disclaimer: Above explanations and meanings are only for general information. They may be incomplete and do not replace medical advice from your health care provider. Always talk to your health care provider if you have any questions about any terms herein, your condition or your treatment plan.

If you have limited/No information about Stroke, its symptoms and consequences, we STRONGLY suggest you read at least one of the following before you leave this Website, as well as share the links with your friends and family. You may save someone from sudden death or being crippled for life !
* Be fast – Stroke Symptoms in English with Videos of Actual Strokes

* स्ट्रोक (आघात) – हिंदी में कुछ जानकारी
* स्ट्रोक-के-साधारण-लक्षण
* In Gujarati – જ્યારે સ્ટ્રોક આવે ત્યારે BE FAST
* In Bengali – Be Fast – দ্রুত !
* In Odiya – ଷ୍ଟ୍ରୋକ: ମୃତ୍ୟୁ ଅଥବା ଶାରୀରିକ/ମାନସିକ ଅସମର୍ଥ

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