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Woman’s two-week battle with ‘unusual’ symptoms caused by stroke

Thomas Markle makes first public appearance since stroke

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Stroke is medically defined as an acute injury resulting from a sudden obstruction in blood flow to the brain. The symptoms that occur in 75 percent of cases are sudden weakness, trouble speaking or vision trouble. But signs may differ depending on which region of the brain is deprived of blood. As one woman’s case illustrates, the onset of symptoms can be gradual, spanning a period of two weeks.

In 2013, the medical journal Neurologist described the symptoms of a 58-old woman as “an unusual case of stroke”.

According to the report, her clinical presentation involved “fluctuating symptoms, multiple strokes, cortical symptoms, confusion, severe headaches […]”.

The 58-year-old’s report states that she presented with a two-week history of “lethargy, fatigue and progressive gait instability”.

Curiously, a CT scan of the head one week prior to admission showed no anomalies.

Three days before her transfer to hospital, however, the patient visited her emergency department with headaches, inattentiveness, confusion, nausea and generalised weakness.

Subsequent scans revealed lesions in the brain, caused by disrupted blood flow due to problems with her blood vessels.

It was concluded from the patient’s brain biopsy that she had budding yeast in the meninges; signalling meningitis.

“The patient had multiple vascular risk factors including a history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, non-insulin-dependent diabetes and obesity,” her report stated.

These are all well-established risk factors for stroke, but her symptoms were atypical.

In most cases, a stroke patient can expect a rapid onslaught of symptoms like numbness and confusion.

A spokesperson for Medical Negligence said: “As well as weakness in the arms, any weakness or paralysis down one side of the body, including the legs and feet is a cause for concern.

“Any trouble speaking, for example, words in the wrong order or forgetting words can be an indication of a stroke, as can a sudden and severe headache.

“A loss of vision or even total loss of sight can occur with a stroke and a sudden onset of memory loss, any dizziness or an unexplained fall are all signs to look out for.”

Anyone who experiences the above symptoms is advised to call 999 immediately, to start treatment, which in most cases will involve thrombolysis.

“Thrombolysis is used to dissolve blood clots and help restore blood flow to the brain,” explained the expert.

“It has the best chance of working when done within four hours of stroke symptoms starting.”

The procedure can improve patient survival by up to 10 percent when given in good time, added the spokesperson.

They continued: “If a stroke is not treated quickly with thrombolysis, then the blood clot can go on to cause serious brain damage and impact the chances of survival and recovery.”

Juliet Bouverie OBE, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association, added: “Stroke is a medical emergency and every minute is critical, so it’s vitally important that we are able to get patients to hospital and into stroke treatment as quickly as possible.

“If you spot the signs of a stroke in you or someone else, it’s vital to call 999 straight away.

“This enables the patient to be scanned and seen by a stroke specialist as soon as possible when they arrive at the hospital, giving them the best chance of survival and recovery.”

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