We are the combination of four hospitals: the General Hospital, the Children’s Hospital, the Women’s Hospital and the Traumatology, Rehabilitation and Burns Hospital. We are part of the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus: a world-leading health park where healthcare plays a crucial role.
Below we will list the departments and units that form part of Vall d’Hebron Hospital and the main diseases that we treat. We will also make recommendations based on advice backed up by scientific evidence that has been shown to be effective in guaranteeing well-being and quality of life.
We will guide you from your first visit to the centre, allowing you to find all the departments and make the most of our facilities. Whatever the reason for your visit, we will explain how to get about the hospital.
Strokes are a medical condition caused by an alteration in blood circulation to the brain. This alteration is due to an artery becoming blocked (ischemic stroke) or the rupture of a blood vessel (haemorrhagic stroke), preventing blood from reaching the brain and therefore temporarily or permanently altering brain functions. When blood flow is impeded, the affected part of the brain does not get the nutrients and oxygen it needs. As a result, brain cells can die, causing severe after-effects.
For this reason, if a person is suspected of having a stroke, the Emergency Medical Service should be notified immediately by calling 112. Acting quickly is essential in order to minimise or eliminate possible after-effects.
Strokes can be grouped into two broad categories depending on the reasons behind them:
When blood flow is temporarily interrupted (for between one and 24 hours), this is known as a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA); however, if the duration is longer or the brain scanner detects necrosis (neuronal death), it is considered an ischemic stroke. TIA is a predictor of vascular disease and, in the case of stroke, is a warning that the person is at risk. In fact, 40% of people who suffer a stroke have previously suffered a TIA.
In the event of the sudden onset of one or more of the following symptoms, action should be taken quickly by calling 112:
Anyone can suffer a stroke, regardless of age and physical condition, although they are more common in the elderly. About 75% of cases occur in people over 65, although they increasingly affect young adults due to their lifestyle habits (between 15 and 20% are under 45). Strokes can also affect children: in Catalonia alone, 900 children live with a disability as a result of a stroke.
This disease can also be known by other names, such as apoplexy, cerebral vascular accident, seizure and thrombosis. In Catalonia, more than 13,000 people are admitted each year for a stroke and, unfortunately, they are not always reached in time to save the patient.
To determine the cause of a stroke it is necessary to perform a brain scan (CT). The scan can be completed by reviewing the condition of the cerebral and cardiac vessels, taking into account risk factors and chronic diseases presented by the patient. However, it is not always possible to discover the origin.
Knowing the cause of a stroke allows us to establish the most appropriate treatment to prevent it from happening again. Depending on the aetiology (cause), it can be classified as:
If a stroke is suspected, a neuroimaging test (a CT or MRI) should be performed as soon as possible, which will tell us about:
Specialists may request other tests such as a chest x-ray (performed upon admission as a first assessment), a doppler or transcranial duplex (to see whether there is a possible intracranial occlusion or stenosis, and where it is located), blood tests (to find out the status of risk factors, immunological and coagulation study, serologies, hormones, renal function, etc.) or a cardiological study (if a cardioembolic stroke is suspected).
After diagnosis, specialists may ask to repeat the tests to detect any changes by comparing the images, or request other tests.
Stroke treatment should be applied immediately, as rapid action can lessen the effects. However, a rehabilitation period is usually needed to eliminate or reduce possible after-effects.
After suffering a stroke, the risk of having another is higher, so it is necessary to take medication to reduce the risk, always following medical guidelines. The first year after suffering a stroke is when there is the highest risk of relapse.
Suffering a second stroke may have a fatal outcome. In survivors, it leads to an increase in the degree of disability and risk of dementia, as well as a higher rate of institutionalisation.
The impact may be different for each patient. Symptoms will be more or less severe depending on the area and volume of the brain affected, as well as the general state of health prior to the event.
In the case of a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which does not usually leave after-effects, or ischemic strokes, if the patient responds well to treatment, recovery is virtually immediate. At other times, the recovery is longer term and takes weeks or months, leaving some sort of after-effects.
There may also be a worsening of the patient due to neurological causes or complications such as fever, infections or others. In more severe cases, it can lead to death.
Once the patient is discharged, the primary care team takes responsibility for the patient, and will monitor risk factors and other chronic diseases. In complex cases, patients will need to visit specialists, such as neurologists.
The return home after hospital discharge will vary depending on the severity of the incident and the patient's family situation. Similarly, reintegration into daily life will depend on the after-effects experienced by each patient.
Stroke. How to care for patients who have suffered a stroke
Preventing and controlling stroke risk factors
How can we identify if a person is suffering a stroke?
Impact and frequent after effects following a stroke
Treatment of strokes
Strokes and Cerebral Haemodynamics
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
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