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Brainstem stroke

  • The brainstem connects the brain and the spinal cord. It controls many important functions, such as breathing, blood pressure and heart rhythm. Changes that may occur after a stroke in the brainstem include the following.

    • breathing problems
    • coma:
      You are unable to wake up or move.
    • dysphagia:
      You have a swallowing problem caused by weakness or loss of feeling in your tongue, lips, palate, throat or all.
    • heart problems
    • hearing loss
    • hemiparesis or hemiplegia:
      You have weakness, partial or complete paralysis on your left side or right side or both.
    • "locked in" state:
      You appear to be aware of your surroundings, but are unable to speak or respond in a meaningful way.
    • sensation changes:
      You have numbness or loss of feeling on your left side or right side or both.
  • Source: Allina Health Patient EducationUnderstanding Stroke, fifth edition, neuro-ahc-90662
    Reviewed by: Allina Health Patient Education experts
    First published: 02/01/2006
    Last reviewed: 05/01/2018