What are signs and symptoms of stroke?

Updated: May 27, 2020
  • Author: Edward C Jauch, MD, MS, FAHA, FACEP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Stroke should be considered in any patient presenting with an acute neurologic deficit (focal or global) or altered level of consciousness. No historical feature distinguishes ischemic from hemorrhagic stroke, although nausea, vomiting, headache, and a sudden change in the patient’s level of consciousness are more common in hemorrhagic strokes.

Consider stroke in any patient presenting with acute neurologic deficit or any alteration in level of consciousness. Common signs and symptoms of stroke include the abrupt onset of any of the following:

  • Hemiparesis, monoparesis, or (rarely) quadriparesis

  • Hemisensory deficits

  • Monocular or binocular visual loss

  • Visual field deficits

  • Diplopia

  • Dysarthria

  • Facial droop

  • Ataxia

  • Vertigo (rarely in isolation)

  • Aphasia

  • Sudden decrease in the level of consciousness

Although such symptoms can occur alone, they are more likely to occur in combination.

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