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Here is a glossary of words and terms that you and your family members and caregivers might hear during your treatment and recovery.

Aneurysm - a weakened spot in the wall of a blood vessel

Anticoagulant or Antithrombotic - medications that prevent a clot from forming

Atrial fibrillation - An irregular heartbeat that makes it more likely for clots to form inside the heart

Brain stem - the lower portion of the brain

Carotid artery - the artery in the neck and head that carries oxygen to the brain

Carotid ultrasound – a test that looks for blockage in the carotid artery

CAT (also called CT) scan - Computerized Axial Tomography scan. During a CAT scan of the head, the scanner uses radiation to create images of the tissues inside the skull, providing information about swelling, bleeding or the size of a stroke.

Cerebral - having to do with the brain

Dysphagia - difficulty swallowing

Echocardiogram - ultrasound technology that makes images of the heart

Hemiparesis or hemiparetic - usually refers to weakness on one side of the body

Hemiplegia or hemiplegic - inability to move one side of the body

Hemorrhage or hemorrhagic – Generally means bleeding; when speaking about stroke it indicates bleeding in or around the brain

Hypertension - Blood pressure that is higher than normal

Infarct - the area of damage from an ischemic stroke

Ischemia or ischemic – damage due to inadequate blood flow

MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images inside the body

Neurologist – a medical doctor who specializes in the brain and nervous system

Neurosurgeon – a surgical doctor who performs operations on the brain or nervous system

Physiatrist – a medical doctor who specializes in rehabilitation

Seizure - most often refers to an uncontrollable shaking or convulsing.

Statin medicine - used to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood

TIA – Transient Ischemic Attack - stroke symptoms that last only a short time

tPA or TPA – medications that dissolve blood clots


Additional information

The following websites provide useful information and tools.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)                

National Stroke Association