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Cerebrovascular disorders: symptoms and treatment

The neurovascular team at St. Luke’s Health includes specialists in disorders of blood vessels in the brain, neck, and spine. Cerebrovascular disorders we treat include:

  • Aneurysms and hemorrhages: weakening sections of cerebral blood vessels that can rupture and cause bleeding in the brain
  • Brain Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs): tangles of abnormally formed cerebral blood vessels that can lead to bleeding in the brain
  • Carotid and vertebral artery stenosis: the buildup of plaque in the arteries that supply the brain with blood
  • Carotid artery occlusion: a complete blockage in the carotid artery
  • Cavernous malformations: tightly packed clusters of abnormal blood vessels
  • Dural arteriovenous fistulas: unusual connections between arteries and veins within the outermost layer of the brain
  • Large vessel occlusions: ischemic strokes caused by a blockage in a major artery in the brain
  • Moyamoya disease: the narrowing of carotid arteries, which increases the risk of stroke
  • Spinal vascular malformations: unusual connections between arteries and veins within the spinal cord
  • Stroke: brain damage caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain due to a blockage (ischemic stroke) or bursting (hemorrhagic stroke) of a blood vessel
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain that could indicate a higher risk of stroke; also known as “mini stroke”


What are the risk factors for cerebrovascular disorders?

There are several risk factors for cerebrovascular disorders, including hypertension (high blood pressure), smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity, and a family history of stroke or heart disease. Additionally, age, gender, and race can also play a role in the development of cerebrovascular disorders.

What are the symptoms of cerebrovascular disorders?

The symptoms of cerebrovascular disorders can vary depending on the specific condition and the location and severity of the damage to the brain. Common symptoms of a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Dizziness or loss of balance


Other symptoms of cerebrovascular disorders may include:

  • Difficulty with coordination or movement
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Seizures


It is important to seek medical attention right away if any of these symptoms occur, as prompt treatment can help prevent further damage to the brain and improve the chances of recovery.

St. Luke's Health aims to provide the highest level of cerebrovascular care.

Our DNV-certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and The Woodlands Hospital have the capability to quickly intervene to stop the progression of stroke damage and prevent permanent impairment through the use of thrombolytic medications and minimally invasive techniques.

Our teams are equipped to treat even the most complex stroke cases. We are committed to delivering safe, high-quality stroke care based on evidence-based protocols and a multidisciplinary approach for the treatment, management, and rehabilitation of stroke patients—and we are with you every step of the way. Learn more about our stroke care.

Treatment options for cerebrovascular disorders

The treatment for cerebrovascular disorders depends on the specific condition and its severity. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as managing high blood pressure, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight can be effective treatments. In other cases, medication may be prescribed to prevent blood clots or manage other underlying conditions such as high cholesterol or diabetes.

For more severe cases, surgical procedures may be necessary, such as carotid endarterectomy to remove plaque from the carotid arteries, or aneurysm clipping or coiling to repair or block off an aneurysm.

In all cases, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to minimize damage to the brain and prevent further complications. Rehabilitation and ongoing care may also be necessary to manage any long-term effects of the condition.

Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery

Surgical treatment of cerebrovascular conditions include:

  • AVM embolization
  • Brain aneurysm clipping
  • Brain aneurysm coiling
  • Brain aneurysm flow diversion
  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Carotid stenting
  • EC-IC bypass for moyamoya
  • Open microsurgery
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (Cyberknife and Gamma Knife)
  • Thrombectomy

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U.S. News & World Report

U.S News & World Report has recognized Baylor St. Luke's Health Medical Center as one of the best hospitals for several specialties.