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by Stahl RJ

Right Brain Stroke

(Stroke, Right-side; Right Hemisphere Stroke; Stroke, Right Hemisphere)


The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It is made of a left and a right section. The right side of the brain is in charge of the left-side of the body. It also does some of our thought processing, help us know body position, and judge space and distance.
A right brain stroke happens when the blood supply to the right side of the brain is interrupted. Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to brain tissue. When blood flow is stopped, the brain tissue quickly dies.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
There are 2 main types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke.


An ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage of the blood flow, which may be due to:
  • A clot from another part of the body like the heart or neck. The clot breaks off and flows through the blood until it becomes trapped in a blood vessel supplying the brain.
  • A clot that forms in an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
  • A tear in an artery supplying blood to the brain—arterial dissection.
A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a burst blood vessel. Blood spills out of the broken blood vessel and pools in the brain. This interrupts the flow of blood and causes a build up of pressure on the brain.
Hemorrhagic vs. Ischemic Stroke
factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Certain factors increase your risk of stroke but can not be changed, such as:
  • Race—People of African American, Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk.
  • Age: Older than 55 years of age.
  • Family history of stroke.
Other factors that may increase your risk can be changed, such as:
Certain medical condition that can increase your risk of stroke. Management or prevention of these conditions can significantly decrease your risk. Medical conditions include:
Risk factors specific to women include:


Symptoms occur suddenly. Exact symptoms will depend on the part of the brain affected. Rapid treatment is important to decrease the amount of brain damage. Brain tissue without blood flow dies quickly.
Call for emergency medical help right away if you notice any of the following:
  • Sudden weakness or numbness of face, arm, or leg, especially on the left side of the body
  • Sudden confusion
  • Sudden trouble speaking or understanding— aphasia
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden lightheadedness, trouble walking, loss of balance, or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
  • Difficulty understanding or expressing the emotional tone of language (unable to change pitch, tone, or rhythm)
  • Difficulty with learned movements
  • Lack of attention to the left side of the body
Longer-lasting effects of the stroke may include problems with:
  • Left-sided weakness and/or sensory problems
  • Speaking and swallowing
  • Vision, including an inability of the brain to take in information from the left visual field
  • Perception and spatial relations
  • Attention span, comprehension, problem solving, and judgment
  • Emotions
  • Interactions with other people
  • Activities of daily living, such as going to the bathroom
  • Mental health, including depression , frustration, and impulsivity


You will be asked about your symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done to look for muscle weakness and movement difficulty. Vision and speech will also be checked.
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
Blood tests can also help determine if there is a bleeding problem.


Immediate treatment is needed to:
  • Dissolve or remove a clot causing an ischemic stroke
  • Stop bleeding during a hemorrhagic stroke
Oxygen therapy may be needed.


For an ischemic stroke, medication may be given to:
  • Dissolve clots and prevent new ones from forming
  • Thin blood
  • Control blood pressure
  • Treat an irregular heart rate
  • Treat high cholesterol
For a hemorrhagic stroke, medication may be given to:
  • Work against any blood-thinning drugs you may regularly take
  • Prevent seizures
  • Reduce how your brain reacts to bleeding
  • Control blood pressure


For an ischemic stroke, procedures may be done to:
For a hemorrhagic stroke, the doctor may:
  • Place a clip or tiny coil in the aneurysm to stop it from bleeding
  • Remove a piece of the skull to relieve pressure on the brain— craniotomy


A rehabilitation program focuses on:
  • Physical therapy—to regain as much movement as possible
  • Occupational therapy—to assist in everyday tasks and self-care
  • Speech therapy—to improve swallowing and speech challenges
  • Psychological therapy—to help adjust to life after the stroke


Many of the risk factors for stroke can be changed. Lifestyle changes that can help reduce your chance of getting a stroke include:
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables , and whole grains . Limit dietary salt and fat .
  • If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
  • Increase your consumption of fish.
  • Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks per day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Check blood pressure frequently . Follow your doctor's advice for keeping it in a safe range.
  • Take aspirin if your doctor says it is safe.
  • Keep chronic medical conditions under control. This includes high cholesterol and diabetes.
  • Talk to your doctor about the use of a statins. These types of drugs may help prevent certain kinds of strokes in some people.
  • Seek medical care if you have symptoms of a stroke, even if symptoms stop.
  • If you use drugs, talk to your doctor about rehabilitation programs.


American Heart Association
National Stroke Association


Health Canada
Heart and Stroke Foundation


Cassella CR, Jagoda A. Ischemic stroke: advances in diagnosis and management. Emer Med Clin North Am. 2017;35(4):911-930.
Furie KL, Kasner SE, Adams RJ, et al. Guidelines for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2011;42(1):227-276.
Hemorrhagic stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: Accessed November 8, 2018.
Hemorrhagic strokes (bleeds). American Stroke Association website. Available at: Updated April 26, 2017. Accessed November 8, 2018.
Intracerebral hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: . Updated November 28, 2018. Accessed December 11, 2018.
Ischemic strokes (clots). American Stroke Association website. Available at: Updated April 26, 2017. Accessed November 8, 2018.
Long-term management of stroke. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: . Updated June 4, 2018. Accessed December 11, 2018.
Neuroimaging for acute stroke. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: . Updated April 13, 2018. Accessed December 11, 2018.
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Stroke (acute management). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: . Updated November 27, 2018. Accessed December 11, 2018.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: . Updated June 6, 2018. Accessed December 11, 2018.
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8/11/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Molnar MZ, Mucsi I, Novak M, et al. Association of incident obstructive sleep apnoea with outcomes in a large cohort of US veterans. Thorax. 2015;70(9):888-895.
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Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 11/2018
  • Update Date: 12/11/2018
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