What kind of doctor should we see for stroke recovery issues?

4 answers | Last updated: Nov 12, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband is 60 years old. He had a stroke 6 years ago caused by a blood clot in the carotid artery. He recovered really well but for the last 2 or 3 years he has been getting a lot weaker on the left side which was affected by the stroke,  What type of doctor. would be most helpful for him?

Expert Answers

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

I would recommend you start by seeing a stroke doctor.  Your husband should not have any worsening of his left side this far out from a stroke.  It sounds like he needs to have a review of his case to make sure that there is no active problem making him worse. 

Beyond that, seeing a Physiatrist (or Physical Medicine Doctor) is often very helpful for recovering lost function after a stroke.  Given the amount of time that has passed since the stroke, it may not provide much benefit, but you never know until you try.

Community Answers

Oc1dean answered...

Regardless of the type of doctor seen, here are some good questions to ask them, remember they are working for you, you are entitled to know the answers. 1. How many patients has he/she seen fully recovered and what did they do to recover? This is not the ADL recovery. 2. What has been done and still needs to be done to prevent another stroke? 3. What area of the brain was disabled by the stroke? What functions did they cover? 4. What type of stroke, clot or bleed? Show me a 3d map. 5. How big was the penumbra? What areas did it affect? 6. What clinical trials are going on right now that the patient would be a good candidate for? 7. What treatment options have been discovered in the last 5-10 years for stroke rehabilitation? Of these options which ones are available in your clinic? This is to determine if he/she is up-to-date or if you will have to do all this research yourself. 8. Who are the best therapists working in your clinic for stroke rehabilitation and why do you consider them to be the best? 9. Who do I work with if depression takes hold? 10. What books on stroke recovery do you recommend? 11. What stroke related magazines do you recommend? 12. What internet sites do you recommend about stroke? There are at least 15 stroke forums out there. If Canadas' Strokengine is not mentioned I would ask why.

For therapists - 1. What is the theoretical basis for your therapy recommendations? 2. Have you mapped the damage as seen from my scans to your therapy recommendations? Why not?

A fellow caregiver answered...

My husband had a hemorrahgic stroke 4 1/2 yrs ago affecting one-third of his brain, primarily on the left side. Over the past year, I have noticed a deterioration, especially in gait and movement. The doctors have reduced some meds and removed others to make sure his new symptoms are not caused by the medications. Now he is seeing a movement disorder neurologist to determine why he is getting weaker and his movement is slow and balance is unsteady. Our primary says the severity of the initial and only stroke is finally showing its damage. Everything I have read on the internet suggests that doctors now think stroke is not a one time event but new symptoms can continue to appear over time. I have seen this happen first hand and am concerned about future deterioration since my husband is only 61 now.

Oc1dean answered...

If you found something that shows that deterioration can continue to occur please put a link to that research. My take on it would be to see if tiny clots are continuously being showered into the brain