After heart disease and cancer, stroke has been ranked as the third leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke, defined as a sudden onset of focal neurologic deficiency, is due to interruption of blood flow to the brain. Blood flow may be impaired due to structural abnormalities in blood vessels or blockage of vessels due to thrombi. The two major categories of stroke include hemorrhagic (intracerebral, subarachnoid) and ischemic.

During the stroke patient’s stay in the hospital, the major concern is to limit the neurologic deficit due to the acute stroke by placing patients on the proper treatments to prevent the reoccurrence of strokes. In addition, prevention of complications from the acute stroke is also a major concern. Complications may include hemorrhagic transformation, ischemic cerebral edema, infections, venous thrombosis, or pulmonary embolisms.