stroke (embolic)

Last reviewed 01/2018

An embolic stroke is a focal neurological deficit lasting for more than 24 hours that is secondary to vascular occlusion by material carried within the blood.

Anterior, middle and posterior cerebral artery branch occlusions are more often embolic - thrombotic occlusion beyond the first main intracranial branches is unusual.

Embolic strokes are usually of sudden onset. Seizures are frequent and may persist for some time after the acute event.

Diagnosis depends upon:

  • identification of an embolic source
  • clinical picture - sudden onset; depression of consciousness if major vessel occlusion

N.B. Emboli frequently cause TIA's as well as infarction.