Svala Björgvinsdóttir was hospitalized in Los Angeles last week following a stroke, RÚV reports. The singer, who was Iceland’s competitor in Eurovision last year, experienced what is known as a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) and was taken to the hospital immediately by her husband. She suffered no permanent consequences from the event and is currently making a good recovery.
“A TIA episode has been called a warning stroke,” explained Björn Logi Þórarinsson, a neurologist the National and University Hospital of Iceland. “It is a temporary reduction in blood flow to the brain, occurring when blood vessels are blocked due to blood clots.” Warning signs include sudden numbness of the face, arm, or leg, sudden confusion or trouble speaking, sudden difficulty seeing, loss of balance, or a sudden severe headache.
Björn Logi noted that people of all ages can have TIAs, although they are certainly more common in older adults. He said it is also important to seek medical attention immediately in the event of a TIA, not only to prevent further blood clots, but also because “[s]tudies have shown that if the proper course of action isn’t taken, 15% of individuals have a full stroke within three months of a TIA episode.”
Svala received permission to fly back to Iceland from the US but will remain under doctor supervision in Iceland. It is uncertain if she will be able to perform her Eurovision song, “Paper,” at the song selection final on March 3.