How does cerebral artery (PCA) stroke occur?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: Erek K Helseth, MD; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

Ischemic strokes occur when blood cannot flow to cerebral structures. Neuron metabolism tolerates a brief period of interrupted oxygen and glucose delivery. Cell death is imminent after approximately 6 minutes of halted blood circulation. Large cortical neurons are especially sensitive to ischemia. Infarcts include a central area, or umbra, of highly concentrated cell death, surrounded by a penumbra of tissue containing stunned cells that may recover, assuming circulation is reestablished or produced through nearby collaterals. (See Pathophysiology and Etiology.)


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