• Right-side Stroke

    (Stroke, Right-side; Right Hemisphere Stroke; Stroke, Right Hemisphere)


    The cerebrum, the largest part of the brain, is separated into the right and left hemispheres. The right hemisphere is in charge of the functions on the left-side of the body, as well as many cognitive functions.
    A right-side stroke happens when the brain’s blood supply is interrupted in this area. Without oxygen and nutrients from blood, the brain tissue quickly dies. A stroke is a serious condition. It requires emergency care.
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    There are two main types of stroke:
    • Ischemic
    • Hemorrhagic
    An ischemic stroke (the more common form) 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) breaking off and blocking the 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.
    Hemorrhagic vs. Ischemic Stroke
    factsheet image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Risk Factors

    Examples of risk factors that you can control or treat include:
    Risk factors that you cannot control include:
    • History of having a stroke, heart attack , or other type of cardiovascular disease
    • History of having a transient ischemic attack (TIA)—With a TIA, stroke-like symptoms often resolve within minutes (always in 24 hours). They 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
    • Heart valve disease (eg, mitral stenosis )


    The immediate symptoms of a right-side stroke come on suddenly and may include:
    • Weakness or numbness of face, arm, or leg, especially on the left side of the body
    • Confusion
    • Dizziness
    • Loss of balance, coordination problems
    • Vision problems, especially on the left-side of vision in both eyes
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Headache
    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.
    Longer-lasting effects of the stroke may include problems with:
    • Left-sided weakness and/or sensory problems
    • Speaking and swallowing
    • Vision (eg, inability for the brain to take in information from the left visual field)
    • Perception and spatial relations
    • Attention span, comprehension, problem solving, judgment
    • Emotions
    • Interactions with other people
    • Activities of daily living (eg, going to the bathroom)
    • Mental health (eg, depression , frustration, impulsivity)


    The doctor will make a diagnosis as quickly as possible. Tests may include:


    Immediate treatment is needed to potentially:
    • Dissolve a clot causing an ischemic stroke
    • Stop the bleeding during a hemorrhagic stroke
    In some cases, oxygen therapy is needed.


    Medicines may be given right away for an ischemic stroke to:
    • Dissolve clots and prevent new ones from forming
    • Thin blood
    • Control blood pressure
    • Reduce brain swelling
    • Treat an irregular heart rate
    Cholesterol medicines called statins may also be given.
    For a hemorrhagic stroke, the doctor may give medicines to:
    • Work against any blood-thinning drugs that you may regularly take
    • Reduce how your brain reacts to bleeding
    • Control blood pressure
    • Prevent seizures


    For an ischemic stroke, procedures may be done to:
    • Reroute blood supply around a blocked artery
    • Remove the clot or deliver clot-dissolving medicine (embolectomy)
    • Remove fatty deposits from a carotid artery (major arteries in the neck that lead to the brain) ( carotid artery endarterectomy )
    • Widen carotid artery and add a mesh tube to keep it open ( angioplasty and stenting )
    For a hemorrhagic stroke, the doctor may:
    • Remove a piece of the skull ( craniotomy ) to relieve pressure on the brain and remove blood clot
    • Place a clip on or a tiny coil in the aneurysm to stop it from bleeding


    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 help adjust to life after the stroke


    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 recommended by your doctor, take a low-dose aspirin every day.
    • If you are at risk for having a stroke, talk to your doctor about taking statin medicines .


    American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

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


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

    Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com/

    Stroke SurvivorsAssociation of Ottawa http://www.strokesurvivors.ca/


    Am I at risk for a stroke? National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=risk . Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Anatomy of the brain. The University Hospital website. Available at: http://www.theuniversityhospital.com/stroke/anatomy.htm . Accessed April 22, 2011.

    DynaMed Editorial Team. Prevention of stroke: recommendations. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated April 7, 2011. Accessed April 22, 2011.

    DynaMed Editorial Team. Stroke (acute management): treatment overview. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated April 11, 2011. Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Effects of stroke. Magee Rehabilitation website. Available at: http://www.mageerehab.org/effects-of-stroke.php . Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Effects of stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=EFFECT . Accessed April 22, 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 22, 2011.

    Effects of stroke. Rush University Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.rush.edu/rumc/page-1098987413801.html . Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Right hemisphere brain damage. American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/RightBrainDamage.htm . Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Stroke and the brain. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/stroke/hic%5Fstroke%5Fand%5Fthe%5Fbrain.aspx . Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Stroke: causes. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150/DSECTION=causes . Updated July 1, 2010. Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Stroke center. University of Chicago Medicine website. Available at: http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/neurology/stroke/ . Accessed April 19, 2012.

    Stroke effects. American Hear Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4761 . Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Stroke facts. St. John’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.st-johns.org/services/stroke%5Fcenter/stroke%5Ffacts.aspx. Accessed April 22 , 2011.

    Stroke on the right side of the brain. University of Minnesota Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.uofmmedicalcenter.org/Services/Stroke/coping/right/index.asp . Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Stroke: treatments and drugs. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs . Accessed July 1, 2010. Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Wood D. Stroke. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated March 28, 2011. Accessed April 22, 2011.

    Revision Information

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