Kirby Puckett in Critical Condition
Former Minnesota Twins center-fielder Kirby Puckett had a stroke at his Arizona home yesterday and was taken to a hospital for surgery, the team announced from its spring training camp. The 44-year-old Puckett, who led Minnesota to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991 and is a member of the Hall of Fame, was taken to a Scottsdale hospital where neurosurgery was performed to evacuate the bleeding in his head. Mr. Puckett is in critical condition.
This is the second famous case of hemorrhagic stroke in as many months. The most common risk factor is hypertension, which causes nearly 60% of all strokes of this type. Other causes include amyloid angiopathy, trauma, cocaine and ruptured arteriovenous malformation.
Mr. Puckett is pretty young for this type of condition. Which can make causes other than hypertension more likely. However, it is unclear is Mr. Puckett did suffer from Hypertension although his recent weight (>300 lb.) makes it likely that he did. Some of his history may suggest risky behavior and makes cocaine use likely (Although I am by no way claiming that he had).
In terms of need for surgery to evacuate hematomas. evacuation of the hematoma is generally not helpful except in cerebellar hemmorhages. Most hematomas more than 3 cm in diameter also require surgical drainage. There are other indications for surgery that include clipping of an AV malformation or placement of shunt. Regardless of the cause, the need for surgery often indicates a poorer prognosis.
More to come as information is released.