Rare and Hereditary Causes of Stroke
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked (ischemic stroke), leaks or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke), damaging or killing nerve cells in the brain. As a result, the part of the body controlled by the damaged area of the brain cannot work properly.
Although strokes most frequently are caused by factors such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, there also are other rare conditions that may lead to stroke. Many of these conditions are hereditary, meaning they are passed down through family lines.
Rare conditions that can be causes of stroke include:
- Noninflammatory blood vessel disorders
- Fibromuscular dysplasia
- Vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndromes
- Radiation-induced vasculopathy
- Moyamoya disease
- Fabry's disease
- Sneddon syndrome (SS)
- CARASIL (cerebral autosomal recessive arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leucoencephalopathy)
- CADASIL (cerebral autosomal-dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy)
- Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome)
- MELAS (Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes)
- Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis
- Inflammatory blood vessel disorders
- Hematological (blood) disorders
- Miscellaneous disorders
Diagnosis of a stroke due to a hereditary or rare condition usually begins with a physical exam and a detailed review of the patient's medical history and symptoms.
Imaging tests, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT), may be used to observe the affected area of the brain and blood vessels to determine what areas may have been affected by stroke.
Treatment for strokes caused by rare or genetic conditions is focused not only on lessening the effects of the stroke itself, but also addressing the underlying cause.
The Stroke Program has earned certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center from The Joint Commission, which means Cedars-Sinai has the facilities and professional expertise to treat the most complex stroke cases.