allaboutstrokes.com is an online medical resource that provides pertinent information on all things related to stroke. The website itself caters to stroke patients, high-risk individuals, concerned family members and caregivers, as well as physicians. This page will provide you with a comprehensive overview of anterior cerebral artery stroke syndrome. Specifically, it will outline anterior cerebral artery infarct symptoms and anterior cerebral artery stroke effects. We sincerely hope that our website helps to further your understanding on the topic of anterior cerebral artery stroke syndrome. If you have further questions, please contact a healthcare professional.
What is anterior cerebral artery stroke syndrome?
Anterior cerebral artery stroke syndrome is when the anterior cerebral artery, a crucial artery in the brain, is restricted in some way that prevents sufficient oxygen from reaching regions part of the anterior cerebral artery territory. Specifically, the anterior cerebral artery territory includes: the frontal, pre-frontal and supplementary motor cortex regions of the brain. These regions are important to us because they are responsible for controlling our sense of logic, personality, and voluntary movements. Consequently, when the anterior cerebral artery is restricted, either due to anterior cerebral artery occlusion (blockage) or an infarction (a small area of tissue death), an individual may experience a corresponding impairment in the functions carried out by these regions. Moreover, when this restriction is due to a stroke (either hemorrhagic or ischemic) we call this condition anterior cerebral artery stroke syndrome.
Stroke, insufficient blood flow to the brain, can cause hypoxic conditions in small localized regions. These hypoxic conditions are important because they can lead to significant cell death and the brain injury associated with anterior cerebral artery stroke syndrome. Moreover, it is important to note that anterior cerebral artery infarcts are fairly rare due to the formation of the Circle of Willis (a circle of connected communicating arteries). This structure helps prevent anterior cerebral artery infarcts through small distal arteries that can compensate for any inadequacy of the anterior cerebral artery (collateral circulation). In some patients, however, these distal arteries or other means of compensation may be blocked, and thus, cause the condition.
Anterior Cerebral Artery Infarct Symptoms
Anterior cerebral artery infarct symptoms depend on the area affected and the severity of the occlusion or infarct. For example, a person with severe damage in the frontal lobe may experience different symptoms from a person with severe damage to the motor cortex regions. As a result of this, anterior cerebral artery infarct symptoms vary greatly within the population affected. However, some common symptoms a patient with anterior cerebral artery stroke syndrome may exhibit include:
- Dysarthria or aphasia (difficulties with communication)
- Motor weakness (unilateral –such as hemiparesis or hemiplegia)
- Slight changes in sensory information processing
- Left limb apraxia (motor planning deficit)
- Urinary incontinence
- Anosmia (problem with sense of smell)
Anterior Cerebral Artery Stroke Effects
Due to the fact that the anterior cerebral artery supplies a large portion of the brain with oxygenated blood, anterior cerebral artery stroke effects vary considerably. For example, when a person may experience the general effects of stroke, such as weakness all over the body, or a more specific effect of the region damaged, such as incontinence. Some well-known anterior cerebral artery stroke effects associated with their regions are:
- Distal Occlusions: If a person has distal occlusions, they may present with weakness in the opposite leg (to side of the brain affected) and a sensory impairment on the other side of the body (the same side as the brain)
- Bilateral Lesions: If a person suffers from bilateral lesions, they may present with incontinence (loss of bladder control), abulia (inability to act decisively) and primitive reflexes.
- Proximal Occlusion: If a person suffers from a proximal occlusion, they may have facial and proximal arm weakness along with all of the effects associated with distal occlusion and bilateral lesions. Moreover, they may also have frontal apraxia.
- Interruption of Commissural Fibers: If a patient suffers from interruption of commissural fibers, they may have right motor paresis or sympathetic apraxia of the left arm.
Anterior Cerebral Artery Stroke Syndrome Diagnosis
In order to diagnose anterior cerebral artery stroke syndrome, a doctor needs to use a variety of tools that will allow him/her to see inside the patient’s brain. More specifically, the doctor will use a combination of general blood tests and brain scans that are typically used when analyzing a stroke. Some common tests include:
- Coagulation profile: This test provides pertinent information on the individual’s clotting status
- Complete blood count (CBC): This standardized test provides the doctor with a general overview of the patient’s health
- CT scan: A computed tomography brain scan is required to provide information on the pathology of the infarction. Specifically, a CT scan helps the doctor rule out other potential conditions, such as cerebral hemorrhage and subdural hematoma.
- MRI: Like a CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging provides relevant information about what is going on inside the brain. MRI is particularly important because it allows detection of ischemic lesions within minutes of stroke onset.
Anterior Cerebral Artery Infarct Treatment
To treat an anterior cerebral artery infarct, doctors may use surgical methods or medication. Specifically, doctors tend to start off by prescribing blood thinners, such as warfarin, if the patient is suffering from an anterior cerebral artery occlusion. This is because an anterior cerebral artery occlusion is typically due to an emboli (a mass of clotted blood cells). Notably, this is different from damage due to ischemia itself. If emboli is not remove, doctors may resort to a craniotomy (surgical opening of the skull). However, it is important to note, like all brain injury, anterior cerebral artery stroke syndrome has no cure.
For any additional information on anterior cerebral artery stroke syndrome, please contact your local healthcare professional.