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I had a stroke?

January 17, 2011
Schematic representation of the circle of Will...

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Well on January 7th I had what the doctors are calling a vertebral artery dissection.  It was something I had never even heard of and it turns out as I read that it’s somewhat more common than I would have guessed.  The whole situation is very surreal.  It happened quickly and everything was internal so there was no outward sign of the damage.  After having a horrible bout of vertigo, cold sweats, and nausea The squad picked me up and taken to the Hospital.

While at the hospital I learned the vertebral artery is actually vertebral arteries.  There is an artery running along both sides of the spine (left and right).  I am the lucky guy to have damage on both side.  The dissection as described by Wikipedia is a flap-like tear in the inner lining of the artery.  They could tell that one side was an older injury, while the other side was newly damaged.

There are two types of dissections.  There are spontaneous and traumatic dissections.  Spontaneous dissections are considered to be caused by intrinsic factors that weaken the arterial wall.   The traumatic dissections may follow a blunt trauma to the neck, direct blow to the neck, or strangulation.

So what’s the treatment for a vertebral artery dissection?  Well they kept me in the hospital for observation for several days to start with and while I was in the hospital they had me on a heparin drip.  Then they add Warfarin when they felt that there wasn’t going to be any complications.

The hospital staff did a great job. I had great nurses during my stay in the hospital.  During a time of uncertainly they made the stay pretty pleasant.  The last couple of days they knew that I was getting antsy because I was there for a week in total.  They were always pleasant and willing to help.  I didn’t abuse the call button so I’m sure that helped.

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