This book examines historiographical accounts of the cerebrovascular condition using a socio-historical approach influenced by the writings of Michel Foucault in an attempt to understand how stroke medicine has emerged in its current form. Historiographical accounts of the cerebrovascular condition we now know as 'stroke' document the trajectory of the pre-modern disease 'apoplexy' to its current understandings, depicting this in terms of advancing medical knowledge. In the UK, policies place emphasis on principles of disease management that result in improved outcomes for stroke survivors, however the extent to which medical achievements have triumphed over this disease is questionable since it remains a chronic condition for which no cure is available. An analysis of medical texts from the 1800s to the present day indicates that although knowledges might undergo epistemic shifts there remain continuities in medical practice, with recurring themes on discourses such as prevention and predisposition.
The relevance of using a Foucauldian framework to interrogate this history is considered, concluding that although using a paradigm orientated approach is valuable to understand the power relationships between the state, doctor and patient, it cannot fully account for the effect that the major characteristic of the patient has in the social construction of stroke: that of old age.