Effusion of blood on the brain, causing loss of power, or disorder of sensation of some part of the body, usually one or other side. With this there may be loss of consciousness, and, when the effusion is very extensive, sudden death. Sometimes there are premonitory symptoms, such as numbness and pricking of the limbs, heaviness, drowsiness and vertigo, faintness, vomiting, alternation of temper.
Diagnosis.-When an attack of apoplexy is slight, and the patient does not lose consciousness, there will be no difficulty. The patient suddenly feels he has no longer power in one or more of his limbs. With this loss of power there is generally altered sensation, numbness, tingling, and sometimes pain. When the attack is so severe as to completely prostrate the patient it may be mistaken for a fit of drunkenness, and the alcoholic smell of the breath is not sufficient to distinguish between the two, since a patient may be seized with apoplexy soon after having taken alcohol to drink. The best rule to make in doubtful cases is to treat all as if cases of apoplexy until the effects of the alcohol have had time to pass off. Cases of opium poisoning are also difficult to distinguish from apoplexy. There will generally be a history of poison having been taken; there will be the smell of the drug, and the pupils will be found contracted to a pin-point aperture. In epilepsy there is struggling as a rule, and the history will help to decide in these cases. Persons subject to epilepsy are usually well known to be so.
General Treatment.-The patient should be placed in bed at once, with head raised. The clothing should be loosened. Plenty of fresh air should be admitted, and perfect quiet enjoined.
Medical Treatment.-This will not be undertaken except by a medical man, whenever there is one to be obtained. Medicines will be given according to the symptoms, and especially the premonitory symptoms, when they can be learned.
Nux. v. 3.-
Every hour. Giddiness, headache, fulness in the head.
Every hour. Full throbbing head, with flushed face.
In attack; slow, full pulse; face red or pale.
Antimonium tart. 3.-
If there has been vomiting before the attack, or on recovery.
When symptoms of active congestion are absent.
(N.B.-The best mode of administering medicine in a fit of apoplexy is by placing a few globules of the remedy on the tongue. The effect of the remedy should be watched, and the dose repeated when its effect seems to be exhausted.).