Large Strokes

A large stroke is caused by blockage of a major blood vessel, most commonly the middle cerebral artery that supplies the regions of the brain controlling the motor and sensory systems, with loss of speech in the case of left-sided stroke. The middle cerebral artery supplies mainly the frontal and parietal lobes, and an area of the temporal lobe that does not include the hippocampus. Hence a large stroke causes only partial deficits in memory, primarily due to frontal lobe damage. These memory deficits can be difficult to assess in a patient with a paralytic stroke who has lost the ability to speak. Sometimes a large stroke can affect deeper parts of the brain, causing only partial paralysis, with speech being preserved.

Strokes, whether large or small, are most commonly due to a thrombus, less frequently an embolus, and rarely hemorrhage. This priority list of likely causes is the driving force behind current preventive and therapeutic strategies.

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