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Ischemic stroke results from a blocked blood vessel, and includes both thrombotic and embolic stroke.
Thrombotic stroke (or cerebral thrombosis)
This is the most common type of stroke. In this type of stroke, a blood clot (thrombus) forms inside an artery in the brain, blocking blood flow. Sometimes, the clot occurs in one of the neck (carotid or vertebral) arteries that transport blood from the heart to the brain.
Blood clots form most often in arteries damaged by atherosclerosis, a disease in which rough, fatty deposits build up on the walls of the arteries and project into the bloodstream. These deposits gradually narrow the passageway, causing the blood flow to slow down and, sometimes, to completely occlude (block) the artery.
Embolic stroke (or cerebral embolism)
This type of stroke is also caused by a clot; however, unlike cerebral thrombosis, the clot originates somewhere other than the brain. Embolic stroke occurs when a piece of clot (an embolus) breaks loose and is carried by the blood stream to the brain. Traveling through the arteries as they branch into smaller vessels, the clot reaches a point where it can go no further and plugs the vessel, cutting off the blood supply. This sudden blockage is called an embolism.
You may also hear the term cerebral infarction in connection with these two types of stroke. An infarct is an area of necrosis, or tissue death, due to obstruction of a blood vessel by a thrombus or embolus.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.