Could the girdling sensation below my father's chest be the result of his stroke?

1 answer | Last updated: Dec 02, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Since my father's stroke, he has suffered from a girdling sensation right below his chest. He says it feels like there's a tight rubber band around his abdomen. The feeling disappears when he lies in bed at night, but returns when he gets up in the morning. Is there anything we can do to relieve it?

Expert Answers

Nerissa Ko is an assistant professor of neurology and an assistant director of the Neurovascular Service at the University of California in San Francisco. She specializes in the care of patients with strokes and vascular diseases of the brain.

This isn't a typical stroke symptom. Some unusual stroke symptoms affect the spinal cord instead of the brain, and that might cause this type of sensation. But more likely it's related to another medical issue. It could be as simple as an acid reflux problem, which might be relieved by propping him up on more pillows at night. But it could also be a type of angina, which requires evaluation. He really needs to consult his doctor to make sure it's not a symptom of something serious, like heart disease.