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STROKE (cerebrovascular accident) Occurs when part of the brain is deprived of its blood supply. It is the third biggest cause of death in the UK and the largest single cause of severe disability. The two main types of stroke are:

  • ischaemic stroke (c. 7 in 10 cases), usually caused by a blood clot blocking an artery that supplies part of the brain.
  • haemorrhagic stroke, caused when a damaged or weakened artery ruptures and bleeds.

Patient UK Stroke (patient information); 2017

Patient UK. Cerebrovascular accident. Professional reference; 2017

After a stroke, symptoms and disability vary greatly depending on, for example, the part of the brain affected, how quickly treatment was given, and the extent of brain damage. Rehabilitation to maximise return of function and quality of life is an important part of treatment.

*The guidelines were published in 2010 and some recommendations may be out of date. 


Prompt treatment improves outcome. The FAST test, advocated by the Stroke Association, assesses three specific symptoms of stroke:

Facial weakness – can the patient smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

Arm weakness – can the patient raise both arms?

Speech problems – can patient speak clearly and understand what you say?

Time to call 999 if a person fails any one of the tests

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