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What are Cerebrovascular Diseases (CVA)?

Cerebrovascular Diseases is a disease of blood vessels in the brain. This includes the following:

  • Cerebral Aretriosclerosis – is a chronic degenerative process characterized by the gradual development of athoroma (faty plaque) in the blood vessels

Signs and Symptoms – loss of memory for recent events; confusion, personality changes, lightheadedness, vertigo, blurring of vision, recurrent transient ischemic attacks (TIA) – a focal neurologic deficit that last from a few minutes to a few hours due to a transient disturbance of the blood supply to a localized area of the brain.

  • Cerebral Aneurysm – a localized out pouching of the wall of an artery and most commonly due to congenital weakness in the arterial waall caused by absences of the media or muscle layer of the vessel.
  • Cerebral Embolism – occlusion of a cerebral vessel by a blood clot, a clump of fat or tumor cells of bacteria are of the body
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage – Cerebral infarction hemorrhage cause what is commonly referred as cerebrovascular accident or stroke and are frquently sequela to cerebral arteriosclerosis or aneurysm.

Effects and Manifestation of CVA:

  1. Premonitory symptoms: persistent headache, dizziness or light0headedness, brief confusion; blurring of vision in one or both eyes, stumbling of speech or “thickness” of the tongue.
  2. Loss of consciousness
  3. Convulsive movements
  4. Headache and vomiting – due to increase in ICP
  5. Vital signs changes – slow respiration and (may be Cheyne-Stokes); pulse is slow, full and bounding; temperature may be normal during the first few hours then becomes elevated
  6. Motor and sensory deficits – hemiplegia, Babinski sign
  7. Speech defects
  8. Eye changes – eyes as well as the head tend to turn to the side fo the lesion in the early stages; later, the deviation may be reversed and the head and eyes are probably turned to the side of the paralysis.

See also Nursing Care of CVA Patients

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