A stroke describes when blood supply is cut off to part of the body, resulting in tissue death in that area. The anterior spinal artery (ASA) is the blood vessel supplying blood to the front half of your spine, or backbone, and a small part of your brain. Therefore, an ASA stroke is when these areas do not get enough blood because of a blood flow blockage. It can be mild and simply result in weakness, but often it is more severe. Symtpoms include inability to feel parts of the body below the affected area, called paralysis, and inability to feel pain and temperature, as the anterior spine deals with these. One may also lose control of their bowel movements. If the tissue damage occurs higher up, ability to breathe may also be compromised. These symptoms develop over minutes or hours. ASA stroke is often caused by direct damage to the aorta, the large blood vessel that leaves the heart with oxygen rich blood. This can be a cause of surgery or general aorta defects, such as an aortic dissection. Usually, a doctor can diagnose an ASA stroke by examining a patient physically, but they may also use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine, which uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of the spine.