Sunday, July 26, 2009

Neurology 103: Basilar Artery Thrombosis

I have been studying a series of medical journal articles about basilar artery thrombosis, which is what caused my brain stem strokes.

According to one online journal, Basilar artery occlusion is associated with a poor prognosis. Some patients with partial occlusion have limited ischemic injury and, therefore, a better prognosis, although outcomes continue to be poor.

Those factors associated with poor outcome include decreased level of consciousness, dysarthria, pupillary abnormalities, bulbar symptoms, diplopia, bilateral cerebellar lesions, tetraplegia, and a cardiac cause of embolism. Up to 90% of patients with no such factors have a good functional outcome, while all patients with such factors either died or had severe disability.

The mortality rate is consistently reported at greater than 70%. Recanalization may decrease the mortality rate by 50%. However, the outcome in a recent series of patients with basilar artery thrombosis treated with antithrombotics was similar to the reported outcome in the available series of patients treated with thrombolytic therapy.

tPA treatment was not applied in a timely manner in my case, but I started using Plavix, a antithrombotic drug that may serve to moderate future thrombosis. I hope so, anyway.

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