Stroke is a disorder in which an area of the brain or near the brain is affected by a haemorrhage caused by the rupture of a blood vessel. The uptake of oxygen and other necessary nutrients for the right running of nervous cells is therefore interrupted.

This disorder is also known as apoplexy, cerebro-vascular accident or brain haemorrhage, even though these terms refer more specifically to different causes of ictus.

The most common symptom of ictus is a face, arm or leg weakness affecting usually half of the body. Other symptoms include confusion, speech trouble, unintelligible speech, trouble in seeing with one or both eyes, trouble in walking, poor coordination, loss of balance, strong headache or dizziness of unknown origin, faintness or loss of consciousness.

Ictus is a latin word meaning blow or bang, perfectly describing the sudden and unexpected character of this process.