Signs of Mild Stroke After Surgery

Any type of surgery poses a series of possible risks and possible complications. Surgeries related to cardiology, neurology and pulmonary conditions run a much higher risk than others. Experiencing a mild stroke just before, during or after surgery may not be visible until the patient awakes and recovers from anesthesia. There are signs to look for that will help medical personnel evaluate whether the patient may have experienced a mild stroke.

Two surgeons passing operating tools over a patient Credit: XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images

Numbness

The patient may relay to the doctor or family members that he is experiencing numbness somewhere on his body. This could happen immediately afterward or a few hours preceding a surgery. Isolated numbness, such as in the left arm or hands, could be a sign of a mild stroke. If one particular area is numb to the point where it can't be moved or is no longer functioning properly, such as a leg or areas of the face, a complete evaluation should take place to see if a stroke has occurred.

Confusion

After surgery, many patients may experience an hour or so of mild confusion or drowsiness. This is mainly due to anesthesia or other drugs that were administered during the surgery. If the confusion persists and the patient grows increasingly confused or is unable to remember who or where she is, this may be a sign the patient has had a slight stroke.

Blurred Vision and Slurred Speech

When a mild stroke has occurred after surgery, vision and speech could be affected. If the patient is staring off to the side, not able to focus or has a droopy eyelid, these could be warning signals something went wrong during surgery. Slurred speech, having trouble pronouncing words and stuttering are signs as well.

Lack of Coordination

When the patient finally gets ready to stand or sit up on their own after surgery, she can be slightly wobbly at first; this is perfectly normal. When someone cannot walk straight, has trouble supporting themselves or falls easily, she may have been affected by a mild stroke. It is important to report any coordination change or balance inability to the physician for a complete evaluation and further testing.

Headaches

After surgery, most patients are looking forward to healing and getting through recovery time with minimal pain and discomfort. If a sudden pain or overwhelming discomfort occurs in the head, it should be evaluated by a medical professional. Added symptoms may include tunnel vision, blackouts and isolated pain and pressure in the head.

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