Country singer Randy Travis, 54, has been admitted to a Texas hospital after suffering a stroke, a complication due to a recent bout of cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. Mr. Travis underwent surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain, according to news reports.
Cardiomyopathy (a weakening of the heart muscle) occurs when the heart cannot pump blood as well as it should, causing congestive heart failure. People who experience heart failure are at an increased risk of stroke.
A stroke is when blood flow to part of the brain stops. The lack of blood and oxygen causes brain cells to die, which may lead to permanent damage.
There are many causes of heart failure. Regardless of the cause, whenever blood is not effectively pumped out of the heart, the risk of stroke goes up. Aspirin and “blood thinners” like warfarin (Coumadin) decrease the chances of having a stroke for help heart failure patients.
The sooner a stroke patient gets to the nearest stroke-designated hospital, the better the outcome. The warning signs of stroke include facial drooping, arm weakness, and speech problems. If you observe anyone with any of these symptoms, it is vitally important to call 911.
This post was written by Richard Libman, MD, chief of vascular neurology at the Harvey Cushing Institutes of Neuroscience at the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
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