If you require emergency medical attention, please call 911 to access your local emergency services.


What Is Ischemic Stroke?

The two primary types of stroke are ischemic (blocked) and hemorrhagic (bleeding). Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a burst blood vessel in the brain. Ischemic, the more common type, is caused when an artery to the brain becomes blocked, either due to a blood clot or fatty plaque.

There are two types of ischemic stroke:

  • Thrombotic: A blood clot (thrombus) forms in an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
  • Embolic: A blood clot or fatty plaque (embolus) travels through the bloodstream to the brain.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Often referred to as a "mini-stroke," a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is no less serious. TIA happens when blood flow to the brain is temporarily blocked, causing temporary damage to the brain cells. Like ischemic strokes, TIAs are often caused by blood clots but symptoms can last less than a minute or up to an hour.

A TIA starts the same way and has the same ischemic stroke symptoms. In the early stages, there is no way to tell if it is a stroke or TIA. 

Tell your primary care physician if you experience a TIA. Tests may determine the cause and help you take steps to prevent another TIA or stroke. If you have experienced a TIA, you are at higher risk of having a stroke.


In the spirit of keeping you well-informed, some of the physician(s) and/or individual(s) identified are neither agents nor employees of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare or any of its affiliate organizations. They have selected our facilities as places where they want to treat and care for their private patients.