What causes stroke?

Updated: Nov 30, 2018
  • Author: Andrew Danziger; Chief Editor: L Gill Naul, MD  more...
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The etiologies of stroke are varied but can broadly be categorized into ischemic or hemorrhagic infarctions. Approximately 80-87% of strokes are from ischemic infarction due to thrombotic or embolic cerebrovascular occlusion. Hemorrhagic infarctions constitute most of the remainder of strokes, with a smaller number due to aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. [1, 3, 4, 5]

Furthermore, 20-40% of patients with ischemic infarction may develop hemorrhagic transformation within one week after ictus. [6, 7] Differentiating between these different types of stroke is an essential part of the initial workup of these patients because the subsequent management of each patient is vastly different. The scope of this article mainly focuses on ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.

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