The pons is a small area located in the brainstem. It is a relatively small part of the lower brain. It is sometimes called the hindbrain. The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of the brain.This medulla oblongata is the part of the brain that sends information to the spinal cord. The pons connects these two structures.
This article discusses stroke and its effects on the pons. It also looks at stroke symptoms, causes and risk factors, as well as diagnosis and treatment.
About the pons
The pons contains nerves and nerve bundles, also called pathways. These nerves and pathways carry information between different parts of the brain. The pons coordinates many important functions, including:
- Sensory input, such as hearing and taste
- Head, neck and body balance
- eye movement
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Symptoms of a Pontine Stroke
A pontine stroke is also called a pontine stroke. A stroke that occurs in this part of the brain affects only a small area. Still, they can cause a variety of serious symptoms, including:
- balance problem
- hard to swallow
- double vision
- loss of feeling and coordination
- slurred speech
- Dizziness, or a spinning sensation
- half body
A pontine stroke can lead to a serious condition called locked-in syndrome. People with locked-in syndrome are awake, alert, and able to think and understand, but only move their eyes.
Why does a brainstem stroke cause dizziness?
Causes of pontine stroke
There are two types of pontine strokes:
An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot prevents blood from flowing through an artery to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures, reducing or stopping blood flow to the brain.
Ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes have the same basic outcome: Once the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain damage. Bleeding can also cause damage to nearby brain structures. This is because bleeding can cause stress and irritation.
Because the blood vessels that supply blood to the pons and the rest of the brainstem are located in the back of the neck, they can be damaged by neck injury, sudden pressure, or sudden movement of the head or neck. When this happens, a pons stroke can occur.
A stroke can affect the physical and cognitive function of the part of the brain where the stroke occurs. Cognitive functions include memory and thinking. The extent of the damage depends on the location and size of the stroke.
A pontine stroke can be caused by a blood clot or a ruptured blood vessel. Both types reduce or block blood flow to the brain, which can lead to brain damage.
Risk factors for pontine stroke
Risk factors for stroke in the pons are the same as for stroke in other areas of the brain. They include:
- Atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat
- family history of stroke
- heart disease
- sedentary lifestyle
- Unhealthy cholesterol and fat levels
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Diagnosis of pontine stroke
Pontine stroke is diagnosed by neurological examination. Some imaging tests can help confirm the diagnosis. These include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, a test that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of the brain
- Brain MRI Angiography (MRA), a test that creates images of arteries
- Computed tomography (CT) angiography, a test that uses multiple X-ray images to look for blockages in arteries
Pontine stroke was diagnosed after neurological examination. Imaging tests can confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of pontine stroke
A stroke requires immediate medical attention. A type of clot-dissolving drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is effective in treating ischemic stroke. To work, it needs to be administered within three hours of stroke symptoms.
Treating a hemorrhagic stroke may involve medication and surgery. The immediate goals are to stop bleeding, address the cause, relieve symptoms, and prevent complications.
In 2018, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association released guidelines for the treatment of stroke. The guidelines strongly recommend the use of tPA in eligible patients. However, doctors must carefully evaluate each patient before administering the drug. Factors affecting eligibility include:
- blood sugar level
- blood pressure
In some patients, tPA can be used up to four and a half hours after symptoms appear.
Several treatments are available to help patients recover from a stroke. They include:
- blood thinner
- fluid management
- Treatment of heart problems
- good nutrition
A stroke in the pons area can cause severe symptoms. These may include balance and coordination problems, diplopia, sensory loss, and half-body weakness. A pontine stroke can be caused by a blood clot or a ruptured blood vessel. Both types can cause brain damage. People with certain medical conditions, inactivity, or smoking or drug use are at higher risk for any type of stroke. The risk of stroke also increases with age. Stroke is diagnosed by neurological examination and imaging tests. Some can be treated with drugs that dissolve the clot if given as soon as possible after symptoms start. After a stroke, blood thinners and other therapies can help patients recover.
The faster you can respond to a possible stroke and get emergency treatment, the better your chances of recovery. That’s why healthcare professionals are promoting the acronym FAST, which links stroke symptoms to the face, arms, speech, and time to call 911. ask:
- Is your face sagging?
- Can you raise your arms evenly?
- Do you have slurred speech or difficulty speaking?
- Did you answer yes to any of these questions? Then it’s time to call 911.