Cerebral embolism: types, symptoms, sequelae and causes

Embolic stroke, also known as cerebral embolismThis is one of the major health complications that can arise affecting the functioning of the brain. It is a type of stroke that can cause permanent brain damage, cause coma, or directly cause death.

Below, we’ll take a look at how brain embolism occurs and what kinds of damage and disorders it can cause.

    What is a cerebral embolism?

    Cerebral embolism it’s a type of heart attack, i.e. vascular disease in which the blood flow is interrupted (in this case the blood flowing through the vessels of the brain), seriously compromising the survival of the areas of the body supplied by this channel and its ramifications due to the immediate lack of oxygen. In this way, a choking situation arises which affects a heart attack or an ischemic area.

    Specifically, what sets cerebral embolism apart from other classes of cerebral infarction is the way it occurs. stopping blood flow to the affected area. In this disease, a body obstructs the blood vessel for a period of time or permanently until it is removed by surgery.

      The difference between a thrombus and a piston

      The obstructive element that produces a cerebral embolism is usually a clot that occurs due to a narrowing of a section of the blood vessel. However, it should be borne in mind that in ischemic attacks this obstructive body can be of two types: either a thrombus or a piston.

      If it is a thrombus, this clot will never have left the wall of the blood vessel and it will have grown here. In contrast, the piston does not have a fixed position in the circulatory system, and passes through blood vessels until it is ‘adjusted’ in one place and produce thrombosis.

      So while the thrombus affects the part of the body it is growing in, the plunger can reach a remote area of ​​the body and cause problems almost anywhere.

      As for cerebral embolism, is found in ischemias called embolic accidentsWhile heart attacks caused by thrombi are thrombotic accidents.

      Why does brain damage occur?

      It should be noted that the brain is one of the most complex organs in the human body, but also one of the most delicate and energetically demanding.

      Unlike other structures in the body, it needs constant blood flow to keep functioning; More precisely, every 100 grams of brain matter should receive about 50 ml every minute. of properly oxygenated blood.

      If this amount falls below 30 ml., An infarcted area may be generated due to lack of glucose and oxygen. In cerebral embolism, the infarcted or ischemic area is dead cell tissue composed mainly of neurons and glia.


      The main long-term symptoms produced by this type of ischemic attack can be very varied, as many functions depend on the proper functioning of the brain. however, short-term symptoms are easier to recognize; they are the following, although the presence of only one does not mean that the cause is this, and they do not have why all occur at the same time:

      • Severe headaches that suddenly appears.
      • Sudden onset of a feeling of tiredness and fatigue that is difficult to explain.
      • Paralysis and / or numbness of one or more parts of the body, usually aligned on one side, or left or right. For example, paralysis in half of the face.
      • Loss of vision in seconds, or double vision.
      • Appearance of an intense tingling sensation in certain areas of the body.
      • suddenly confusion and disorientation: It is difficult to know the time and place of the person.

      Main types of cerebral embolism

      Beyond the classification of ischemic events that differentiate thrombotic and embolic events, the latter also present different sub-categories allowing a better understanding of the characteristics of each case.

      Basically, these categories depend on the characteristics of the piston that produces the risk situation. like that, the main types of cerebral embolism are the following.

      1. Pneumatic piston

      In such cases, the piston is an air bubble which works by preventing the passage of blood.

      2. Cloth piston

      In this type of embolism, the obstructive body is part of a tumor or groups of cancer cells.

      3. Fat piston

      The piston is done fat that has built up forming a plaque in the blood vessel, and which has traveled through the circulation after breaking away from its original position.

      4. Heart piston

      In this type of cerebral embolism, the piston is A blood clot which has acquired a thick and pasty consistency.

      Associated disorders and sequelae

      The most common sequelae of cerebral embolism are:

      Emotional regulation disorders

      People who have had a stroke may have more difficulty suppressing their impulses, regulating complex emotional responses, or expressing how they feel.

      Language disorders

      The language uses distributed neural networks by different parts of the brain, so it is easy for an ischemic attack to affect the biological functions that maintain it. For example, the onset of aphasia is relatively common.


      Cerebral embolism can cause parts of the body to “disconnect” from the brain, preventing the muscle fibers that move them from being activated by the motor neurons reaching them.


      Apraxias are disorders based on difficulty coordinating voluntary movements.

        Memory problems and amnesia

        Amnesias, retrograde and anterograde, are not uncommon. It can also happen that the procedural memory, related to the intelligence of the person, decreases.

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