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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Brain Stem Stroke


 beth4414 - Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:20 pm

I need advise. My sister in law who is 42 had a stoke in her brain stem on Monday. She didn't smoke and did not have any health issues other than stress from work. She is in ICU at small hospital in Johnstown PA and I am wondering if we shouldn't transport her to Pittsburgh for a second opinion. Also, her latest MRI which was done yesterday shows swelling in the damaged area. She currently has weakness on the left side and double vision. She is on a morphine pump for pain. Any advise or information would be helpful. Please let me know if you need additional information. The doctors told us that this type of stoke is usually fatal. I am worried - any information that you can give me would be appreciated.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:13 pm

User avatar Hi Beth4414,

Brainstem strokes can be very severe and are commonly fatal because many of the crucial life functions have their centers in the brainstem.

It sounds as if your sister-in-law is doing quite well for this type of stroke. The biggest risk with strokes is repeated strokes, usually in the initial few days.

Long term recovery of strokes is quite variable and can take a long time for some people. Physical, occupational and speech therapy are important.

The upside to having swelling in the stroke area is that the swelling will often improve and some of the lost function may return as the swelling and pressure is relieved.

The decision as to whether or not to transfer her to a larger facility is really dependent upon the current facilities ability to properly manage the issues. If the hospital does not have the proper staff, support services (like physical therapy), or equipment needed transfer should occur. This can be discussed with her current doctors who will be able to give you some good advice about the current hospitals ability to care for your sister-in-law.

Best wishes.

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