A stroke may occur if an embolism travels from another part of the body and lodges within an artery in the brain. When an internal arterial wall becomes damaged, various types of emboli can form, such as one derived from platelets, thrombotic, cholesterol, or mixed. In this example, an embolism is formed in the internal carotid artery, breaks loose, travels towards the brain and lodges in a cerebral artery. The blocked artery deprives the brain of oxygen, damaging the surrounding brain tissue. The result is a stroke.
Review Date 4/30/2018
Updated by: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, SUNY Stony Brook, School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.