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Friday, May 24, 2013
Is a hypoxic ischemic encephalapathy insult to the brain the same as a stroke? Does a stroke always show up on a MRI? Does it take time for it to show up?
In a sense, yes. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy means that the patient has diminished cognitive function due to brain injury that is caused by a lack of blood flow. The most common cause for this is low blood pressure or complete lack of blood pressure as in a cardiac arrest. Brain injury is usually on both sides of the brain, and can be quite severe.
This is a little different from a typical stroke, which generally only involves blockage of one blood vessel, and thus involves only damage to the part of the brain fed by the blocked artery.
Both are similar in that brain cells die due to lack of oxygen and nutrients.
Stroke almost always shows up on a MRI scan. It can take time for it to show up, but we would expect to see the stroke within a day or two after symptoms begin at latest. Some MRI techniques can be used to image a stroke within 30 minutes of onset.
I hope this has answered your questions. If not, please feel free to write back.
Brett Kissela, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Neurology Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati