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Table 1 Underlying mechanisms of haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke 3

From: Perioperative care of a patient with stroke

Ischaemic stroke Haemorrhagic stroke
Thrombus - from a ulcerated plaque in the carotid artery Hypertension is the commonest - causing weakness of the vessel wall
Cardioembolism from Atrial fibrillation (AF) Amyloid angiopathy
Large vessel atherosclerosis causing a stroke by occlusion Use of sympathomimetic drugs such as cocaine causing transient hypertension
Small deep perforating vessel arthrosclerosis causing lacunar stroke Congenital Arterio-venous malformations, aneurysms
A venous clot, causing paradoxical embolism through a patent foramen ovale (PFO) Uncommon such as tumours, vasculitis, bleeding diathesis and use of anticoagulants
Vasospasm of structurally normal vessels (e.g. sympathomimetic drug use)  
Hypercoagulable state, operating with any of these mechanisms or independently