Cerebrovascular Disease Treatment

BayCare is the Tampa Bay area’s leader in neurovascular surgery, vascular surgery, and the treatment of cerebrovascular diseases. With state-of-the-art diagnostic technology and cutting-edge surgical procedures, we are able to offer a wide variety of services and treatments for patients suffering from cerebrovascular disorders like strokes, aneurysms, carotid stenosis, tumors, and AV malformations, among others. This specialty of vascular surgery is available at Morton Plant Mease Hospital’s Center for Neurosurgical and Spine Care and St. Joseph’s Hospital Stroke & Neuroscience Program.

What is Cerebrovascular Disease?

Cerebrovascular disease describes any disorder that affects the blood vessels of the brain. The brain receives its blood from two sets of arteries. If these arteries become blocked due to hypertension, cholesterol, or plaque buildup (atherosclerosis), the brain may either not receive enough blood (ischemia) or clots may form and cause bleeding in the brain (hemorrhaging).

Types of Cerebrovascular Disease

Some of the most common types of cerebrovascular disorders include:

  • Stroke – A stroke occurs when the brain does not get enough blood. If the brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, its cells begin to die and cannot regenerate. The most common cause of a stroke is a blood clot, which is a sudden collection of blood on the wall of a plaque-laden artery.
  • Aneurysm – An aneurysm is an area of a blood vessel that is abnormally weak and has formed a balloon or pouch. If the weakened area bursts, bleeding in the form of a subarachnoid hemorrhage can occur. The most common indication of an aneurysm is a sudden, severe headache.
  • Carotid stenosis – This condition involves a narrowing of the carotid arteries, which are the primary carriers of blood from the heart to the brain. Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of carotid stenosis and greatly increases someone’s risk of stroke.
  • Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) – An AVM is a tangle of vessels that disrupt the normal flow of blood between veins and arteries, resulting in a lack of blood flow to the tissues of the brain. An AVM mostly likely develops in-utero and can lead to a stroke or hemorrhaging.
  • Cavernous malformation – Also called a cavernoma, this type of malformation describes a small, knotted bundle of capillaries and veins in the brain that may leak blood and cause seizures or strokes. Cavernous malformation is most likely inherited, but may also develop over time.
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIAs) – TIAs are often called “mini-strokes.” Although similar to a stroke, the blood clot only forms temporarily (usually less than five minutes) and then dissolves without causing permanent damage. Sudden confusion, dizziness, headaches, or facial numbness may be signs of a TIA.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage – This disorder involves bleeding between the brain and its tissue coverings, an area called the subarachnoid space. Bleeding is usually caused by a cerebral aneurysm (bulging area of a blood vessel), an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), or a head injury.
  • Vascular dementia – Vascular dementia occurs when the brain does not get enough blood. It can occur suddenly, as the result of a stroke, and may mimic Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms include hallucinations, disorientation, visual misperceptions, incontinence, or difficulty walking and staying balanced.

Diagnosis and Testing for Cerebrovascular Disorders

Tests for cerebrovascular diseases may include a cerebral angiography, a carotid duplex, a CT scan, an MRI, a Doppler ultrasound, or an electroencephalogram (EEG).

Cerebrovascular Disease Prevention

The best way to prevent the development of certain cerebrovascular disease is to keep your vascular system as healthy as possible by exercising regularly, not smoking, eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Regular screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol levels can also help you stay on top of your vascular health.

Treatments for Cerebrovascular Disease

Specialized cerebrovascular surgery is available from Morton Plant Mease Hospital’s Center for Neurosurgical and Spine Care or St. Joseph’s Hospital in the form of:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery for brain tumors and AV malformations
  • Brain surgery for aneurysms, also called brain aneurysm repair
  • Brain and spine surgery for AV malformations
  • Brain and spine surgery for cavernomas
  • Endoscopic third ventriculostomy for hydrocephalus
  • Endoscopic restriction of brain tumors
  • Minimally invasive craniotomies for brain tumors, also called cranial microsurgery
  • Transsphenoidal endoscopic resection of pituitary tumors
  • Endovascular coiling, also called endovascular embolization
  • Intracranial angioplasty
  • Shunt surgery for normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Aneurysm clipping
  • Microvascular decompression

Learn More About Diagnosis & Treatment of Cerebrovascular Diseases at BayCare

Patients in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Lutz, Winter Haven, Riverview, Plant City, and all of the surrounding areas can gather more information on cerebrovascular diseases and the specialized treatment and procedures offered at the following BayCare Health System facilities: