Stroke and Mini-stroke Treated by Vascular Surgeons in Baltimore

Mercy Medical Center's Vascular Surgeon Dr. Paul Lucas discusses the risks and signs of stroke in women.

The Vascular Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, offers comprehensive diagnosis and screening by experienced technologists as well as treatment for circulatory system disorders to help prevent stroke. 

Patients who are experiencing dizziness, vision or speaking problems, weakness or numbness may be at risk for a stroke and should be seen by a doctor or vascular specialist as soon as possible.

About the Condition

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked (transient ischemic stroke or TIA or mini-stroke) or bursts (brain hemorrhage stroke). Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer a stroke and the condition is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. A mini-stroke is an early warning sign of a more harmful stroke, so its symptoms should be communicated to a doctor as soon as possible.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Stroke symptoms come on suddenly and can include: 

  • Severe headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble walking or talking clearly

These same symptoms can occur with a mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack –TIA) but they often don’t last as long. TIAs are indicators of blocked blood flow to the brain and are precursors to a stroke which can cause permanent brain damage.  Even if symptoms have vanished, a person who has experienced a TIA needs immediate help.

Doctors will conduct tests that look at heart and blood vessels and can include:

  • Imaging tests like an ultrasound, CT scan or Magnetic Resonance Angiogram
  • Blood tests
  • Echocardiogram to check the heart and blood flow
  • Electrocardiogram to check the heart rhythm
NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Symptoms of stroke require immediate attention and anyone suffering from any of the listed symptoms should go to the hospital as soon as possible. Immediate medical care is the best hope for minimizing the long-term effects of stroke.
Mini-stroke treatment may require:

  • Multiple medications to prevent stroke
  • Surgery on the neck’s carotid arteries
  • Stenting in the carotid arteries to keep the artery open and blood flowing

A stroke requires emergency treatment and will include a CT scan, oxygen for breathing, a physical exam and emergency surgery to drain blood and stop additional bleeding. The immediate goal is to control bleeding and reduce pressure on the brain. Once a patient is stabilized, he or she remains in the hospital for several days and medical care is focused on helping the patient regain their strength, recover as much body function as possible and return home. Plans will also be made for stroke recovery. Rehabilitation can include speech therapy, physical therapy, nutritional education, occupational therapy and help from social services.

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