What are the signs and symptoms of ischemic stroke?

Updated: May 27, 2020
  • Author: Edward C Jauch, MD, MS, FAHA, FACEP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Consider stroke in any patient presenting with acute neurologic deficit or any alteration in level of consciousness. Common stroke signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Abrupt onset of hemiparesis, monoparesis, or (rarely) quadriparesis

  • Hemisensory deficits

  • Monocular or binocular visual loss

  • Visual field deficits

  • Diplopia

  • Dysarthria

  • Facial droop

  • Ataxia

  • Vertigo (rarely in isolation)

  • Nystagmus

  • Aphasia

  • Sudden decrease in level of consciousness

Although such symptoms can occur alone, they are more likely to occur in combination. No historical feature distinguishes ischemic from hemorrhagic stroke, although nausea, vomiting, headache, and sudden change in level of consciousness are more common in hemorrhagic strokes. In younger patients, a history of recent trauma, coagulopathies, illicit drug use (especially cocaine), migraines, or use of oral contraceptives should be elicited.

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