Illinois Senator Mark Kirk Suffers Stroke

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has had a stroke and underwent “successful” surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he is recovering.

After being stricken Saturday, Kirk, 52, who is divorced and lives in Highland Park, drove himself to Lake Forest Hospital, “where doctors discovered a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck,” his office said.

Kirk was later transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where tests showed that he had suffered an ischemic stroke, his staff said, and he underwent surgery to relieve swelling around his brain.

Dr. Richard Fessler, a neurosurgeon at Northwestern Memorial, said the senator suffered a stroke ”to the right side of his brain. What that means is it will affect his ability to move his left arm and possibly his left leg.”

It also could result in “some facial paralysis,” the surgeon said.

He said it was fortunate that the stroke didn’t involve the left side of the brain, which could have affected the senator’s ability to speak and think.

“We’re very hopeful . . . he should be able to do very well,” Fessler said.

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