Pediatric Stroke Program

Glossary of Stroke Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | H | I | L | M | O | P | S | T | V

A

Aphasia
Difficulty talking or understanding language

Aneurysm
Weakening of the wall of an artery

Angiogram
Picture of the arteries supplying the brain that is generated by injecting dye through a blood vessel in the leg

Anterior Cerebral Artery (ACA)
The two blood vessels that supply part of the frontal lobe, one on each side of the brain

Anticoagulant
Medicine that prevent blood clots from forming; "blood thinner"

Antiplatelet
Medicine that makes platelets less sticky; aspirin is an example

Anti-Xa
Blood test that tells the doctors if your dose of LOVENOX is correct

Arterial Ischemic Stroke (AIS)
Brain injury caused by blockage of blood flow in an artery

Artery
An artery is the body's "pipeline" for carrying blood from the heart to other parts of the body including the brain.

Arterial Dissection
A tearing in the wall of an artery

Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)
A tangled group of abnormally formed blood vessels that can sometimes burst and bleed into the brain

Aspirin
A medicine that prevents blood clots by making platelets less sticky

Ataxia
Trouble with balance or walking which often occurs with strokes affecting the cerebellum

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B

Basilar Artery
The blood vessel that supplies the brain stem

Basal Ganglia
Part of the brain that is important for controlling movement

Blood
Blood is the fluid that carries oxygen and important nutrients to different parts of the body and carries away carbon dioxide and other waste materials not needed by the body. Blood travels to and from the heart by way of two different "pipelines," arteries and veins.

Brain Stem
The lower part of the brain that is important for movements of the eyes and body, alertness and breathing

(Blood) Clot
A blood clot occurs when blood changes from a liquid to a solid form. Some clotting is normal and not harmful. However, a blood clot can get stuck as it travels through an artery or a vein. This clot can cause different problems depending on where it is located.

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C

Carotid Artery
Two blood vessels that travel in the front of the neck to the brain

Cerebral Sinovenous Thrombosis (CSVT)
A condition that occurs when a blood clot gets stuck in a vein that carries blood from the brain to the heart. It may go away before permanent damage is done to the brain or it may cause an ischemic stroke.

Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA)
Another term for stroke

Cerebellum
Back part of the brain that is important for coordination

Congenital Heart Disease
Abnormalities in the structure of the heart that occur before a baby is born

COUMADIN
A medicine that prevents blood clots, given as a pill

CT Scan (Computed Tomography)
A type of x-ray that can be used to diagnose stroke by taking a picture of the brain

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D

Dysarthria
Trouble talking or slurred speech that can happen with a stroke

Dysphagia
Trouble eating or swallowing that can happen with a stroke

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E

Echocardiogram
A test using sound waves to get a picture of the heart, used to look for blood clots that may have caused the stroke

Embolus
A blood clot that moves through the bloodstream and may become stuck in a blood vessel

EEG (electro-encephalogram)
A test that looks for a tendency for seizures by measuring electrical activity in the brain

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F

Frontal Lobe
The largest area of the brain that controls movement of the body's muscles, talking and is responsible for many parts of a person's personality

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H

Hemorrhage or hemorrhagic
Bleeding

Hemiparesis
Weakness affecting one side of the body

Hemianopsia
Inability to see on one side

HEPARIN
A medicine used to prevent blood clots, given through an IV

I

INR (International Normalized Ratio)
A blood test that tells the doctors if you are getting enough COUMADIN

Ischemia or ischemic
A term used to describe a blockage of blood flow to an area of the brain

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L

LOVENOX
A medicine used to prevent blood clots, given by injection

Lumbar Puncture (LP or "Spinal Tap")
A test used to test for brain infection or inflammation that is done by placing a small needle in the back to remove a small amount of spinal fluid

M

MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram)
A test that takes a picture of the blood vessels in the brain using magnetic signals and a computer

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
A test that takes a detailed picture of the brain using magnetic signals and a computer and shows if a stroke has occurred

MRV (Magnetic Resonance Venogram)
A test that takes a picture of the venous sinuses and other veins in the brain using magnetic signals and a computer and is used to look for CSVT

Middle Cerebral Artery (MCA)
The two blood vessels that supply part of the frontal lobe, parietal lobe and basal ganglia. There is one on each side of the brain.

Moyamoya
A disease in which the ends of the carotid arteries get narrow and can lead to extra blood vessels growing; this can cause AIS and hemorrhage

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O

Occipital Lobe
The back part of the brain that is important for vision

P

Parietal Lobe
The part of the brain that is important for feeling things and for being aware of your surroundings

Platelets
Part of the blood that is important for forming blood clots

Posterior Cerebral Artery (PCA)
The two blood vessels that supply the occipital lobe and thalamus, one on each side of the brain

Prothrombotic
A tendency to form blood clots too easily

PTT (Partial Thromboplastin Time)
A blood test that tells your doctors if you are getting enough heparin

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S

Seizure
Uncontrolled movements or change in behavior caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain

Sickle Cell Disease
A blood disease that runs in families and causes the red blood cells to get stuck in the arteries and can cause strokes

Stroke
Brain damage caused by an interruption of blood flow to the brain, either by a blockage in an artery (AIS), in a vein (CSVT) or by rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke)

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T

Temporal Lobe
Part of the brain that is important for understanding language and for hearing

Thalamus
Part of the brain that coordinates information from other parts of the brain. Injury to the thalamus can cause problems with movement, sensation, seeing, hearing, memory or level of alertness.

Transcranial Doppler
A test using sound waves to help the doctors to get a closer look at the blood flowing through the arteries in the brain

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
An episode of weakness or trouble speaking or seeing caused by a blockage in an artery that only last for a brief period of time. This is often a warning of a stroke, sometimes called a "mini stroke."

Thrombolytic
A drug that breaks up or dissolves a thrombus (blood clot)

Thrombus
A blood clot that forms inside a blood vessel or inside the heart

Thrombophilia
A tendency to form blood clots easily

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V

Vasculopathy
Abnormal narrowing of one or more arteries that supply the brain

Vein
A vein is the body's "pipeline" for carrying blood from other parts of the body (including the brain) back to the heart.

Visual Field Cut
A loss of vision on one side caused by brain injury

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Reviewed by: Rebecca N. Ichord, MD
Date: October 2006

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