Lancet Study Reports
Some Right Sided Strokes may go Undiagnosed
July 30th 2005
Know the warning
signs of a Stroke
It may be harder to
detect a stroke in the right side of the brain than the left because
speech is not affected. German researchers, in the July 30th
Lancet, report that patients may not be admitted to the hospital
promptly because of the difficulty detecting the symptoms. Prompt
treatment improves the survival rate during the acute phase of a stroke. This means people that need thrombolytic or other therapies
won't get it quickly.
Both left and right
strokes will affect day-to-day living. A right sided stroke will affect
perception skills and spatial skills. The person suffering the stroke
may have problems making sense of what they see, hear and touch. They
may also have trouble judging depth, size and distance.
Dr. Christian Foerch
and his colleagues at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt
Germany evaluated data for over 20,000 stoke victims between 1997 and
2002. Most of the recorded cases were left
(11,300 left and 8,700 right). Dr. Foerch’s does not believe left sided
strokes are more common, so why the discrepancy?
According to the
research "The probable explanation for our findings is that
symptoms... are more noticeable if language or dominant hand function is
affected, both of which are located in the left hemisphere in most
individuals," said the researchers.
Cerebrovascular events (strokes) may go unnoticed even by friends and
relatives because the accompanying characteristic neurological deficits
are less noticeable. It is hoped the study will make emergency
personnel more aware of right sided stroke symptoms.
About 750, 000 people have a stroke in the US each year
and about 20% die making stroke the third leading cause of death. It is
also a leading cause of disability.
"Our study suggests differences in medical attention and subsequent
management between patients with right and left hemispheric stroke," the
researchers wrote. "Difficulties in recognition of symptoms due to right
hemispheric stroke pose specific challenges for the effort to further
optimize stroke management, particularly in the critical early hours of
It is recommended
that doctors rely on specialized stroke units staffed by physicians who
are skilled at making a careful assessment. "A cursory history and
examination and a negative CT scan in the emergency department do not
suffice," Dr. Fink wrote in his editorial (reported by Med Page Today).
"MRI, including diffusion-weighted imaging, is extremely valuable to
assist diagnosis of cerebral ischemia, particularly when the clinical
picture is uncertain. Up to half the patients with clinically
'transient' ischemic attack will have positive diffusion-weighted
imaging. Foerch and colleagues' study is a challenge for us not to
neglect those who might have presented with some neglect."
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Keywords and misspellings: Stroke symptoms simptoms