UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Neurology

Title: Atypical Stroke Symptoms

Keywords: stroke, altered mental status, gender, sex, confusion (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/28/2018 by Danya Khoujah, MBBS (Updated: 5/27/2024)
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Patients may present atypically with ischemic strokes, reporting symptoms such as face or hemibody pain, lightheadedness, mental status change, headache and non-neurological symptoms.

Up to 25% of patients will have these symptoms.

Women are more likely than men to present with these atypical (or “nontraditional”) symptoms, especially altered mental status.


Labiche LA, Chan W, Saldin KR, Morgenstern LB. Sex and acute stroke presentation. Ann Emerg Med. 2002;40(5):453-460.

Lisabeth LD, Brown DL, Hughes R, et al. Acute stroke symptoms: comparing women and men. Stroke. 2009;40(6):2031-2036.