Teenager has a stroke after tearing an artery in his neck on a water slide
- Unnamed 16-year-old went to hospital when he could not stand or walk
- Had ridden a water slide 12 days before, which caused initial vertigo
- Scan revealed a stroke to the part of the brain that controls posture and balance
A teenager suffered a stroke after he tore an artery in his neck while riding a water slide.
The unnamed 16-year-old presented to Rashid Hospital in Dubai after being unable to walk or stand without help for 16 hours.
He mentioned he had ridden a slide at a water park 12 days before, which caused him to experience vertigo that came and went for ten minutes.
CT scans revealed the teen, who was from Korea, had suffered a stroke in the part of the brain called the cerebellum, which controls posture, balance and co-ordination.
Further examination showed he endured a left vertebral dissection – a flap-like tear to the inner lining of an artery in the neck that supplies blood to the brain.
After being treated with anti-clotting drugs, the boy made a full recovery within three months.
X-ray shows how the unnamed teenage boy endured a left vertebral dissection – a flap-like tear to the inner lining of an artery in the neck that supplies blood to the brain
As well as being unable to walk, the boy was also vomiting and complaining of nausea, and could not swallow, BMJ Case Reports revealed.
Upon examination, doctors revealed he had Horner’s syndrome, which is defined as having small pupils, drooping eyelids and an inability to sweat from the face.
His left side was the most affected, with it having uncontrolled eye movements, a reduced gag reflux and barely any sensation of pain.
As well as a bleed to his cerebellum, a CT scan also showed he was suffering from left lateral medullary infarct.
This occurs when the blood and oxygen supply is cut off to the medulla – the part of the brain that controls unconscious body responses such as heart rate, breathing and sneezing.
It was too long after the incident for the teen to be treated via thrombolysis, which uses clot-busting drugs to disperse the thrombus and return the blood supply to the brain. The NHS recommends it is carried out within four-and-a-half hours.
He was therefore treated with another anti-platelet, which was not named, and fed via a tube due to him being unable to swallow. The tube was removed after just one week.
CT scan reveals the teen, who was from Korea, had suffered a stroke in the part of the brain called the cerebellum, which controls posture, balance and co-ordination
Tears to one of the arteries in the neck – known as a cervical dissection – are a major cause of stroke among people under 50. Such injuries can cause clots to develop that affect the blood supply to the brain and lead to the life-threatening injury.
Many sufferers assume their stroke occurred spontaneously as they do not class minor traumas that occur while at a theme park, or when swimming or scuba diving as a potential cause.
But the authors wrote: ‘Trauma as minor as simple neck turns during water slide rides can produce cervical dissection.’ This can occur if a joint is stretched or rotated beyond its normal scope of movement.
Stroke can take place even weeks after such seemingly trivial incidents occur since artery blockages and blood clots often take several days to develop.
WHAT IS A STROKE?
There are two kinds of stroke:
1. ISCHEMIC STROKE
An ischemic stroke – which accounts for 80 percent of strokes – occurs when there is a blockage in a blood vessel that prevents blood from reaching part of the brain.
2. HEMORRHAGIC STROKE
The more rare, a hemorrhagic stroke, occurs when a blood vessel bursts, flooding part of the brain with too much blood while depriving other areas of adequate blood supply.
It can be the result of an AVM, or arteriovenous malformation (an abnormal cluster of blood vessels), in the brain.
Thirty percent of subarachnoid hemorrhage sufferers die before reaching the hospital. A further 25 percent die within 24 hours. And 40 percent of survivors die within a week.
Age, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, family history, and history of a previous stroke or TIA are all risk factors for having a stroke.
SYMPTOMS OF A STROKE
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Of the roughly three out of four people who survive a stroke, many will have life-long disabilities.
This includes difficulty walking, communicating, eating, and completing everyday tasks or chores.
Both are potentially fatal, and patients require surgery or a drug called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) within three hours to save them.