Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stroke awareness: for the not-so-old

Another article, from the Norwich Bulletin in Norwich, Conn., brings attention to stroke awareness, even among the not-so-old. A good reminder for Stroke Awareness Month.

The article talks about a topic we've brought up here, that of New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi and his stroke in February 2005. Bruschi was all of 31 when it happened.

The article's author, Anthony G. Alessi, MD, a neurologist, discusses how while a stroke - which he defines as "a condition resulting from a lack of blood supply to an area of the brain" - is typically associated with elderly patients, it's not exclusively for the elderly.

Bruschi's stroke, like mine, was caused by a hole between the upper chambers of his heart known as a patent foramen ovale.

"This condition allowed free passage of a small clot from the right side of his heart to his brain, resulting in stroke," wrote Alessi. "Placing a patch over the hole through a catheter sealed the hole. Unfortunately, he was left with weakness on his left side and vision loss."

My own hole-in-the-heart was patched in June 2007. You can see a video of the patch here.

With dedication and therapy, Bruschi returned to the NFL on Oct. 15, 2005.

Recently, Alessi wrote, at this year’s American Academy of Neurology meeting, Bruschi received the Public Leadership Award for his work in the field of stroke awareness.

"Bruschi’s story shows us that the combination of modern medical care, a strong will and hard work can overcome the obstacle of a stroke — even to the point of returning to the highest level of sports," the neurologist wrote.

While most stroke survivors won't play for the NFL (before or after), fellow survivors can take heart, so to speak.


Dr. Alessi said...

Great job!
Thanks for picking up the column.
Dr. Alessi

Jeff Porter said...

And thank you, Dr. Alessi, for your work about stroke awareness.