Yes, a stroke can be dangerous. No, it doesn’t always result in a life-threatening situation.
Those were among the highlights of a livestreamed question and answer session with Dr. Gerald W. Eckardt, a neurosurgeon with BayCare Clinic Neurological Surgeons. The discussion focused on aneurysms and hemorrhagic strokes.
A stroke occurs when there is “a blockage of a blood vessel or damage to a blood vessel causing bleeding within the brain itself or to the blood vessels leading to the brain as well,” Eckardt says.
An aneurysm is an “outpouching” or weakness in an artery wall inside or outside of the brain that causes it to abnormally balloon out or widen, he adds.
How are these two conditions connected?
When it comes to aneurysm, “Because that area of the blood vessel is weak, that can lead – if it ruptures – to a hemorrhagic-type of stroke,” Eckardt says. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened vessel in the brain ruptures, bleeds into the surrounding brain, pools and puts pressure on the surrounding brain tissue.
It is possible to survive a stroke. It’s also possible to survive a ruptured aneurysm, Eckardt says.
“The most important thing is time,” he says. “The quickest way to get people involved in the care of that stroke is going to be to call 9-1-1 and get the emergency responders on their way to get that patient to the emergency room as soon as possible.”
When it comes to a ruptured aneurysm, “The preference is to treat it as soon as possible,” Eckardt says. “The reason for that is because the risk of that aneurysm bleeding again and causing further damage is highest within the first several days after the aneurysm is ruptured.”
Seek a medical opinion when suspecting stroke or ruptured aneurysm in a loved one or someone nearby, Eckardt says.
“Don’t be afraid to come in,” he says. “It’s always better to come in and get checked out in lieu of missing something.”