Partial Anterior Circulation Syndrome
Partial Anterior Circulation Syndrome is a type of cerebral infraction that is a result of a blockade in the arteries of the brain. When the brain suffers damage because of low oxygen supply, the neurons that are responsible for sensory and motor control lose the ability to perform essential communication. This lack of communication and coordination between the brain cells and the muscles of the body is what leads to devastating side effects.
The term Anterior means the front part of the brain; and Partial means half. Therefore, precisely speaking, Partial Anterior Circulation Syndrome is the cut off of blood supply to the front half of the brain. Such an ischemic stroke is one of the most common types and accounts for almost 70% of all stroke cases.
Since this condition comes under the wide umbrella of ischemic strokes, taking a look at the specific pathophysiology of this brain related injury is important. A blockade can form in an artery of the brain in a number of ways. At times the hindrance in blood supply forms at the spot that it is lodged at. This collection of blood, cholesterol and debris is called a thrombus. It starts as a small clot that eventually grows large.
At other times the same occlusion forms elsewhere in the body and is carried by the circulating blood to the anterior of the cerebellum, leading to a partial anterior circulation infarct. Such a blockade is called an embolus. It travels with the blood to the small branches of the anterior arteries that are too narrow to let it pass.
In both cases, the neurons in the brain are deprived of oxygenated blood and run the risk of dying. The more neurons that pass out because of this blockade, the greater the damage caused.
Symptoms of Partial Anterior Circulation Infract
As a whole, the cerebellum controls the entire body. It is responsible for planning and coordinating all activities and procedures. To make this responsibility easier and streamlined, the cerebellum is divided into two regions, the left and the right.
Consequently, partial anterior circulation syndrome can either be right PACS stroke or left PACS stroke. Depending on this, various symptoms can surface. Another important fact to remember in relation to the cerebellum is that the right side controls the left body and the left side controls the right body.
• Right PACS stroke or left PACS stroke result in numbness and stiffness in the respective regions that have the potential to eventually turn into complete paralysis. Starting as a mild weakness, a patient experiences difficulty in moving his limbs and lower torso.
Many times, this weakness and numbness spreads to different parts slowly, and at others it surfaces in all regions simultaneously.
• Being similar to cerebral infraction, Partial anterior circulation infract can rob a patient of the ability to swallow and chew. This condition is called dysphasia. Since muscle coordination and neurological communication is not normal, the muscles in the throat and the jaw lose function. In right PACS stroke, the left side of the mouth droops, while in left PACS stroke, the right side of the mouth lose flexibility.
• Speech and the ability to communicate are two serious symptoms of partial anterior circulation syndrome. Vocal cords and the speech centres in the brain together enable an individual to speak and think at the same time. With both these parts suffering as a result of a stroke, a patient’s speech may become slurred or he may be using only one side of the mouth to try to speak.
• Visual-spatial disturbances are another common symptom in which patients find it hard to make sense of three and four-dimensional space. Again, this problem is also due to the brain’s inability to process spatial information.
Since Partial Anterior Circulation Syndrome is the ‘partial’ injury of the cerebellum, all the above symptoms may not be present at the same time.
Treatment Options For Partial Anterior Circulation Syndrome
Treatment for Partial Anterior Circulation Syndrome focuses on reducing the pain caused to patients because of the symptoms discussed above. In cases that are severe, completely treating Partial Anterior Circulation Syndrome is quite impossible.
Treatment options for Partial Anterior Circulation Infract range from prescribed medications to invasive surgeries. Surgical options are geared towards opening up the areas that has been damaged by the clot, finding the blockade and cleaning up the affected artery. While the procedure is being completed, the blood flow rerouted so that the artery can be cleaned up and stitched back in place.
Once the surgery is completed, Partial Anterior Circulation Infract would have been resolved, however, the side effects that it leaves behind cannot be erased in one go. Long-term therapies are needed to induce mobility and flexibility back into the body parts that are affected as a result of partial anterior circulation syndrome.
Some of these therapies include:
Speech Therapy: Speech therapists help Partial Anterior Circulation Infract patients by telling them ways to make their speech clearer and exercise the muscles in the vocal cords. Slurred speech and stuttering can be improved with regular speech therapy.
Dysphasia Exercises: When patients are unable to swallow as a result of partial anterior circulation syndrome, a number of exercises can be prescribed when they come off the nasogastric tube. Dysphasia exercises aim to teach patients how to swallow a mouthful so that the constriction in the throat can be widened.
Occupational Therapy: Lastly, occupational therapy is a must for those recovering from partial anterior circulation syndrome. Since this condition cripples an individual, making it completely impossible for him to complete everyday chores and responsibilities, occupational therapy adds an element of empowerment to whatever degree that the disabilities allow.
Occupational therapists make patients use crutches, wheelchairs and other electronic devices that can make it easy for them to get things done around the house. Using these proven techniques, partial anterior circulation syndrome patients are able to bring back some quality to their lives while they get accustomed to this new way of living.