A blood clot, or embolus, can form and break-off from the heart. The clot travels through the bloodstream where it can lodge in an artery of the brain, blocking the flow of oxygen-rich blood. The lack of oxygen results in damage, destruction, or even tissue death of the brain beyond the affected area. The result is a stroke.
Review Date 8/7/2017
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.