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BRAIN ATTACK:

Blood Clot in Brain: Types, Reason & Treatment

By Dr. Sanjay Kumar Mishra in Neurology

Jan 25 , 2022 | 6 min read

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A blood clot in the brain occurs when a blood vessel breaches and fills with blood, causing a blockage in an artery. When this happens, the brain can be deprived of oxygen as it is cut off. This can cause damage to the brain cells and even lead to death.

While some people may experience a mild episode of this event without any symptoms, others may go on to have more serious complications, including seizures or death. But even before any of these happen, you may experience some warning signs that you should look out for. If you identify any of these symptoms, you should get a blood clot in brain treatment.

Blood clots are blood clumps usually formed whenever you get injured, to stop blood loss. But what if a blood clot is formed inside your blood vessels that obstruct the blood flow? It can prove to be highly dangerous. There are two types of blood clots - Thrombosis and embolism.

Let's read about them and see the reasons and treatment of such blood clots in the brain.

Types of Blood Clots

  1. Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot when a blood vessel in the body becomes damaged and filled with blood. This can be due to trauma or any other medical condition. These blood clots are stationary.

  2. Embolism occurs when an artery is blocked by a foreign object. This can occur when the artery becomes blocked by a blood clot or clotting material, or even tissue. These blood clots usually move from their original position to somewhere else in the brain.

Symptoms of a Blood Clot in Brain

  • Intense and recurring headaches - You may experience a pain in the head that does not go away with rest. Even if you are physically inactive, your brain will still feel pain and discomfort. Sudden headaches, pressure in the head, and numbness around the face and body could also be an indication of a blood clot. 

  • Sudden issues like slurring in speech - As your brain is starved of oxygen, it will result in damage, and therefore affect the way you speak. You may notice that your speech becomes slower or even slurred. These impediments in your speech could be an indication of a blood clot in the brain.

  • Blurry eyesight - Blurry eyesight is one of the early symptoms of a blood clot in the brain. When your brain is starved of oxygen, it will be affected and can cause you to suffer from blurred vision. You might notice that the view in front of you appears hazy or fuzzy.

  • Uncontrollable motor functions - As damage continues to your brain, you may suffer from uncontrollable shaking or tremors. These can be minor at the start but can grow in intensity as the blockage gets worse.

  • Seizures - When the blood clot grows to a certain size, it can cause seizures. These seizures are usually short, but they can also be long and severe.

  • Dizziness - When your brain is starving of oxygen, you may experience dizziness. You could feel lightheaded or even fainting.

  • Paralysis - As the blood clot gets bigger, it can cause paralysis. Depending on where the blood clot is located, it could cause acute paralysis in certain areas of the body.

What are the reasons/causes for a blood clot in brain formation?

Several factors can play a role in forming blood clots, such as.

  • Obesity - Obesity is one of the main causes of blood clots in the brain. Fat cells are more prone to clotting and if you have a high body mass index (BMI), your risk of having a blood clot in the brain is higher.

  • Smoking - Smoking causes blood vessel damage and is also one of the main causes of blood clots. Smoking decreases the blood's nitrogen oxide (NO) levels. It can also cause thrombosis and embolism in the blood vessels, which may lead to high blood pressure.

  • Birth control pills - Birth control pills can lead to a blood clot in brain. It can affect the release of estrogen in the body, which can make you prone to blood clots.

  • Brain Trauma - Some studies show that brain trauma can cause a blood clot in the brain. Trauma to the head often causes bleeding in the brain, which can lead to a blood clot.

  • Atherosclerosis - Atherosclerosis is the hardening of arteries due to the deposition of fat and calcium in the blood vessel wall, also called plaque. These plaques can get disrupted. As a result, platelets may deposit to form clots at the site of damage.

Diagnosis of Blood Clot in Brain

  • Blood tests - The doctor will perform a blood test to look for certain signs of a blood clot in brain. It will look for protein in the bloodstream, which will be an indication that the brain is bleeding.

  • Ultrasound - An ultrasound scan can be done to check the size and shape of the brain. This may give insight into the location of the blood clot and where it may have come from.

  • CT scan - CT scans can be used to identify blood clots in the brain. They are more accurate than other imaging techniques and can provide more detailed information on the nature of the blood clot.

  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) - MRAs can be used to take images of blood vessels and identify any blockages or abnormalities. It can also be used to examine the blood flow in the brain and look for the source of the blood clot.

  • V/Q scans - V/Q scans can be used to identify the oxygen levels of the blood. It can measure both the amount of arterial and venous blood flow and also show if there is any blockage or clotting in the blood vessels.

Treatment of blood clots in the brain

  • Anticoagulant medications

    This blood clot in brain treatment involves medications that thin the blood and prevent it from clotting. It is given to people who have a history of blood clots, and also those who have had a stroke caused by a blood clot. Your doctor may prescribe anticoagulants & antiplatelets such as warfarin that prevent the formation of another clot.

  • Thrombolytics

    Thrombolytics are drugs that rapidly dissolve blood clots and are administered in emergency cases such as stroke. Example - heparin

  • Mechanical Thrombectomy

    Mechanical Thrombectomy is the surgical procedure is done to remove the blood clot in the brain. A device equipped with a mesh can be used to extract the blood clot from the main artery and out of the brain.

  • Surgery for blood clots in the brain

    Your doctor can suggest surgery to remove the blood clots. Generally, there are two types of surgery to remove blood clots in the brain-

    • Burr hole drainage - This procedure involves making a small hole in the skull and draining the blood clot from the brain and provide pressure relief.
    • Craniotomy - Craniotomy involves cutting a section of the skull to drain out the blood clot and placing it back.
  • Stents

    Stents are small tubes that can be placed in the brain's blood vessels to hold it open. This allows for proper blood flow.

  • Vena Cava Filters

    Vena cava filters can be placed in the inferior vena cava to catch any blood clots before they reach the heart, brain, or lungs. These small filters can be placed using an endoscope or a catheter.

Conclusion

The symptoms of a blood clot in brain are diverse. It can be minor annoyances like slurred speech to a full-blown stroke that causes paralysis. If you are experiencing these symptoms, consult your doctor at a leading hospital like Max immediately and get a proper blood clot in brain treatment.