Bow hunter's stroke: What causes it?

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Bow hunter's stroke: What causes it?

Question

What causes a bow hunter's stroke?

Donna
Arkansas

Answer

Bow hunter's stroke is a rare type of ischemic stroke. It results from narrowing or obstruction of the main arteries supplying blood to the brainstem and cerebellum at the back of the brain.

Bow hunter's stroke may be caused by forcibly turning your head to the side. In individuals with certain cervical spine abnormalities, such movement puts pressure on vertebral arteries at the back of the upper neck — where the arteries enter the brain. This impairs blood flow to the brain, which causes a stroke.

A doctor may make a diagnosis of bow hunter's stroke by:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain or cervical spine
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram
  • Angiogram

Treatment of bow hunter's stroke is directed at reducing pressure on the vertebral arteries with head movement. This may include:

  • Surgery
  • A neck brace

Bow hunter's stroke

Illustration of bow hunter's stroke

Bow hunter's stroke may be caused by forcibly turning your head to the side. In individuals with certain cervical spine abnormalities, such movement puts pressure on vertebral arteries at the back of the upper neck — where the arteries enter the brain. This impairs blood flow to the brain, resulting in a stroke.

Last Updated: 07/19/2006
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use

 

Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version