Suffering from a Stroke in Middle Cerebral Artery
A stroke in middle cerebral artery is the result of a blockage in the middle cerebral vessel that supplies blood to many parts of the brain. The middle cerebral artery (MCA) is one of the three main arteries that supply blood to the cerebellum and stems from the Internal Carotid Artery.
The mid cerebral artery symptoms vary depending on the regions that are damaged as a result of occlusion in the Middle Cerebral Artery. What makes stroke in middle cerebral artery so dangerous is the penetration of the smaller MCAs into the center of the brain, increasing the risk of irreparable damage to these sensitive structures.
According to the middle cerebral artery stroke pathophysiology, the blockage in the artery deprives the neurons in the cerebellum of oxygen, causing cell death, and severe damage to the surrounding brain tissue.
Right and Left Middle Cerebral Artery Stroke Effects
The middle cerebral artery divides into two main branches namely, the Left Middle Cerebral Artery and the Right Middle Cerebral Artery. Both these arteries are responsible for sensory function of their respective sides of the body. When an individual suffers a stroke in middle cerebral artery, it can either mean that the middle artery is blocked before it divides, or that either the left or the right branch is blocked.
The left and the right middle cerebral artery further divide into small branches that are present deep into the cerebellum and are responsible for complicated, yet sensitive neurological function. The right and left middle cerebral artery stroke effects are numerous, depending on the extent of the blockage and the regions of the brain that are damaged. If the left side is damaged, the effects will be seen on the right side while damage to the right side of the brain will present on the left side of the body. This is known as contralateral impairment.
Following are some major right and left middle cerebral artery stroke effects:
• Changes in movement and lack of sensation
The loss of sensation in body parts is the biggest effect of stroke in middle cerebral artery. At times, the extent of loss is equal throughout one half of the body; and at other times it varies. For instance, it may be harder to move one’s feet than the hips. Such varying levels of sensation are mostly felt in the lower torso.
Since muscle coordination and movement is at stake after a stroke in middle cerebral artery, a patient finds it hard to swallow, chew or even speak. He is unable to make out what an object is by just touching it and cannot tell if anything touches his limbs. In short, sensations like pressure, temperature and touch to the right or the left side are completely lost and start to surface as mid cerebral artery stroke symptoms.
The left middle cerebral artery stroke effects can also result in what is called Right Neglect. Since the patient cannot move his head or eyes to the right, over time he may start forgetting the right side completely. For instance, he may only eat food from the left of the plate, talk to people on the left or even comb hair only on this side. A similar reaction to the left side happens when the right is damaged.
• Disrupted attention span and memory
The effects of a stroke in middle cerebral artery are catastrophic to attention span and memory building. A patient who has suffered an intense cerebral artery stroke finds it hard to make new memories or even remember to complete a task. His attention span is likely to see a sharp fall as problems with reading, writing and solving everyday issues surface.
In particular, dealing with basic math becomes hard because it requires the brain to put in a lot of energy. One major concern is the lack of motor planning. A heath brain plans every small step or task that the body wants to do. With most of it damaged, motor planning suffers badly, so much so that even if the patient has the energy to walk, he may not be able to because the brain cannot plan to pick up his foot and take a step forward.
Simple actions like standing up from a chair can start looking jerky.
• Loss of vision
Again, depending on the side that is affected by a stroke in middle cerebral artery, a patient can lose part of his eyesight. For instance, left middle cerebral artery stenosis leads to loss of sight from the right eye.
• Changes in speech
If the stroke in middle cerebral artery causes damage to the part of the brain that controls speech, a condition called Aphasia can surface. Effects on speech are also part of the mid cerebral artery symptoms, which means they can be observed even before the stroke actually starts.
There are three types of Aphasia:
Non-fluent Aphasia: A patient is unable to make complete sentences and speak them out. He talks with one word or forms a sentence with missing words. Speech becomes painful and very slow.
Fluent Aphasia: A patient is able to speak full sentences, but with the wrong words. These words are often made up as well. For instance, instead of saying ‘I took the car for a wash’ the patient may say, ‘I took the dog for a lash’.
Global Aphasia: A patient has trouble speaking and comprehending speech.
Middle Cerebral Artery Stroke Treatment
Middle Cerebral Artery Stroke Treatment options are the same as those used for ischemic strokes. Such options include surgical procedures that focus on taking out the atherosclerotic plaque and cleaning up the artery for the passage of blood. However, procedures for middle cerebral artery stroke treatment are highly complicated because the middle artery branches out into small vessels that penetrate deep into the cerebellum.
Anticoagulants can also be prescribed because they thin out the blood circulating in the body, preventing it from clotting too quickly. In the wake of a stroke in middle cerebral artery, a number of therapeutic treatments are prescribed in an effort to bring back flexibility and mobility, especially in the limbs and lower torso.