Randy Travis’ unexpected stroke puts spotlight on the condition

Randy Travis’ unexpected stroke puts spotlight on the condition

As legendary country music star Randy Travis recovers from a stroke and surgery to remove pressure on his brain, the ordeal has put stroke into the national spotlight. According to news reports, the 54-year-old singer was being treated for heart failure caused by a viral infection when he experienced the stroke.

Health experts say Travis’ experience is not uncommon.

The National Stroke Association reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States killing more than 133,000 people annually. In 80 to 85 percent of the cases, a clot causes the blockage and the remaining cases are caused by bleeding in the brain.

Sunil Kadakia, MD a cardiologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Barrington, Ill., shed light on Travis’ condition known as cardiomyopathy. He explains how viruses can lead to respiratory infections that could also infect the heart.

“It appears Mr. Travis was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy which is a disease of the heart muscle that can cause the heart to become enlarged, thick or rigid,” said Dr. Kadakia. “The weakened heart cannot pump as much blood, which leads to heart failure or irregular heartbeats called an arrhythmia.  In most cases, a stroke is a complication due to a patient’s heart problems.”

Dr. Kadakia explained that for patients with heart-pumping problems like Travis, strokes are a common risk.  However, if they do experience a stroke, patients often experience swelling in the brain which could cause more damage than the stroke itself.  This is why Travis had surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain, he said.

And how long might Travis’ recovery be? It’s hard to know at this point.

“We don’t know the exact details of Mr. Travis’ case, but his recovery could be quite long depending on the type of stroke he experienced,” said Dr. Kadakia.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.