644493 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Cerebellar Stroke

    (Stroke, Cerebellar)

    Definition

    The cerebellum is located in the lower part of the brain, towards the back. It plays a role in body movement, eye movement, and balance.
    A cerebellar stroke occurs when the brain’s blood supply to this area is interrupted. Without oxygen and nutrients from blood, the brain tissue quickly dies. This results in the loss of certain functions. A stroke is a serious condition. It requires emergency care.
    Cerebellum
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    There are two main types of stroke:
    • Ischemic
    • Hemorrhagic
    An ischemic stroke (more common) is caused by a sudden decrease in blood flow to a region of the brain, which may be due to:
    • A clot that forms in another part of the body (eg, heart or neck) breaks off and blocks flow in a blood vessel supplying the brain (embolus)
    • A clot that forms in an artery that supplies blood to the brain (thrombus)
    • A tear in an artery supplying blood to the brain (arterial dissection)
    A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a burst blood vessel that results in bleeding in the brain.

    Risk Factors

    Risk factors that you can control or treat include:
    Risk factors you cannot control include:
    • History of stroke, heart attack , or other type of cardiovascular disease
    • History of transient ischemic attack (TIA)—With a TIA (“mini-stroke”), stroke symptoms often resolve within minutes. It may signal a very high risk of having a stroke in the future.
    • Age: 60 or older
    • Family members who have had a stroke
    • Gender: males
    • Race: Black, Asian, Hispanic
    • Blood disorder that increases clotting

    Symptoms

    Symptoms of a cerebellar stroke come on suddenly and may include:
    • Uncoordinated movements of the limbs or trunk (ataxia)
    • Difficulty walking, including problems with balance
    • Abnormal reflexes
    • Tremors
    • Vertigo (feeling of spinning or whirling when you are not moving)
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Intense headache
    • Speech problems (eg, slurred speech) and difficulty swallowing
    • Problems sensing pain and temperature
    • Difficulty hearing
    • Problems with vision (eg, eyes move rapidly, difficulty controlling eye movement)
    • Problems with eyes (eg, small pupil, droopy eyelid)
    • Loss of consciousness
    If you or someone you know has any of these symptoms, call 911 right away. A stroke needs to be treated as soon as possible. Brain tissue dies quickly.

    Diagnosis

    The doctor will make a diagnosis as quickly as possible so that you will be able to get the proper treatment. Tests may include:
    • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the brain
    • CT angiogram—a type of CT scan that evaluates blood vessels in the brain and/or neck
    • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the brain
    • MRA—a type of MRI scan that looks at blood vessels in the brain and/or neck
    • Heart function tests (eg, electrocardiogram )
    • Doppler ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to examine blood vessels
    • Blood tests
    • Kidney function tests
    • Tests to check your ability to swallow

    Treatment

    Immediate treatment is needed to:
    • Dissolve a clot (for ischemic stroke)
    • Stop bleeding (for hemorrhagic stroke)

    Medications

    For an ischemic stroke, the doctor may give medicines to:
    • Dissolve clots and/or prevent new ones from forming
    • Thin blood
    • Control blood pressure
    • Reduce brain swelling
    • Treat an irregular heart rate
    For a hemorrhagic stroke, the doctor may give medicines to:
    • Work against any blood-thinning drugs you may regularly take
    • Reduce how your brain reacts to bleeding
    • Control blood pressure
    • Prevent seizures

    Surgery

    For an ischemic stroke, the doctor may do surgery to:
    • Reroute blood supply around a blocked artery
    • Remove the clot or deliver clot-dissolving medicine
    • Remove fatty deposits from a carotid artery ( carotid artery endarterectomy )
    • Widen and keep open a carotid artery ( angioplasty and stenting )
    For a hemorrhagic stroke, the doctor may:
    • Remove a piece of the skull to relieve pressure on the brain ( craniotomy )
    • Place a clip or a tiny coil in an aneurysm to stop it from bleeding

    Rehabilitation

    A rehabilitation program focuses on:
    • Physical therapy—to regain as much movement as possible
    • Occupational therapy—to assist in everyday tasks and self-care
    • Speech therapy—to improve swallowing and speech challenges
    • Psychological therapy—to improve mood and decrease depression

    Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of having a stroke, take the following steps:
    • Exercise regularly .
    • Eat a healthy diet that includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fish.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • If you drink alcohol , drink only in moderation (1-2 drinks per day).
    • If you smoke, quit .
    • If you have a chronic condition, like high blood pressure or diabetes, get proper treatment.
    • If you are at risk for having a stroke, talk to your doctor about taking statin medicines .

    RESOURCES

    American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org/

    National Stroke Association http://www.stroke.org/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php

    Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca/splash/

    References

    Am I at risk for a stroke? National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=risk . Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Anatomy of the brain. The University Hospital website. Available at: http://www.theuniversityhospital.com/stroke/anatomy.htm . Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Barrett A. Acute cerebellar ataxia. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated March 10, 2011. Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Effects of cerebellar stroke. Ohio State University Medical Center website. Available at: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/PatientEd/Materials/PDFDocs/dis-cond/stroke/EffectsCerebellarStroke.pdf . Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Effects of stroke. Magee Rehabilitation website. Available at: http://www.mageerehab.org/effects-of-stroke.php . Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Effects of stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=EFFECT . Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Effects of stroke. Ohio State University Medical Center website. Available at: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare%5Fservices/stroke/effects/Pages/index.aspx . Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Effects of stroke. Rush University Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.rush.edu/rumc/page-1098987413801.html . Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Jensen M, St. Louis E. Management of acute cerebellar stroke. Archives of Neurology website. Available at: http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/62/4/537.pdf . Published April 2005. Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Prevention of stroke: recommendations. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated April 7, 2011. Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Stroke (acute management): treatment overview. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated April 7, 2011. Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Stroke: causes. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150/DSECTION=causes . Updated July 1, 2010. Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Stroke: treatments and drugs. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs . Updated July 1, 2010. Accessed April 15, 2011.

    Wood D. Stroke. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated March 28, 2011. Accessed April 15, 2011.

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