A cerebrovascular accident (CVA), or stroke, occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain is stopped either by a blockage or by bleeding on the brain or in the surrounding membranes. When a cerebrovascular accident happens, an area of the brain begins to die due to a lack of oxygen and the nutrients it needs.
Stroke is the third most common cause of death in western countries and is the principal cause of disability in adults since it frequently leaves important neurologic sequelae (speech, motor problems…)
There are two types of cerebral attacks or cerebrovascular attacks: ischemic and hemorrhagic. The majority of cerebrovascular attacks are ischemic. They occur due to a gradual formation of atherosclerosis (narrowing) of the arteries that supply blood to the brain, or when a blood clot blocks a cerebral artery (frequently caused by cardiac arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation).