Why is constant reassessment necessary for patients with suspected ischemic stroke?

Updated: May 27, 2020
  • Author: Edward C Jauch, MD, MS, FAHA, FACEP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

The physical examination must encompass all of the major organ systems, starting with airway, breathing, and circulation (ABCs) and the vital signs. Patients with a decreased level of consciousness should be assessed to ensure that they are able to protect their airway. Patients with stroke, especially hemorrhagic stroke, can suffer quick clinical deterioration; therefore, constant reassessment is critical.

Ischemic strokes, unless large or involving the brainstem, do not tend to cause immediate problems with airway patency, breathing, or circulation compromise. On the other hand, patients with intracerebral or subarachnoid hemorrhage frequently require intervention for airway protection and ventilation.


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