Types of Stroke

Types of Stroke
All strokes involve a loss of blood flow to the brain, but there are slight differences that influence the way a stroke happens and the way it is treated.

Hemorrhagic Stroke
A hemorrhagic stroke is a burst or leaking blood vessel in the brain, resulting in what many patients describe as "the worst headache of my life." There are two kinds of hemorrhagic strokes:

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage:  A weakened blood vessel ruptures, usually from an aneurysm. An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge that pushes out from the wall of a blood vessel.

Intracerebral Hemorrhage: A blood vessel within the brain is leaking, usually due to uncontrolled high blood pressure.

These are the most serious kinds of stroke, but prompt attention can limit the damage from a hemorrhagic stroke. Doctors will attempt to manage your blood pressure and may use clips or coils to control the blood flow near the leak or rupture.

Ischemic Stroke
An ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is restricted by a blood clot or other blockage. There are two kinds of ischemic stroke:

Thrombotic Stroke: A blood clot or plaque (fatty deposits) forms within an artery that supplies blood to the brain.

Embolic Stroke: A blood clot or plaque travels to the brain from elsewhere in the body (usually the heart).

If you get to the hospital quickly enough, your doctors may be able to break up or remove the blood clot.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) or "mini-stroke" is when the blood flow through an artery is blocked or reduced for a short time. Symptoms often resolve within 24 hours, but a serious, disabling stroke can occur soon afterward. Roughly 10 to 20 percent of individuals who experience a TIA will suffer a bigger stroke within 90 days.

If you have a TIA, your doctors will discuss medication and behavior changes that can reduce your risks of having a future stroke.

Learn more about emergency stroke care