A blood clot, or embolus, can form and break-off from the heart. The clot travels through the bloodstream where it can lodge in an artery of the brain, blocking the flow of oxygen-rich blood. The lack of oxygen results in damage, destruction, or even tissue death of the brain beyond the affected area. The result is a stroke.
Update Date 5/21/2012
Updated by: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.