Strokes are another complication of cardiac catheterization. The latest studies show strokes to occur in 7 out of 10,000 procedures. Most of these strokes appear to be caused by a piece of plaque, especially in the aorta, that breaks off and travels through the arteries to the brain. When the piece of plaque blocks the travel of blood through an artery in the brain, less blood and oxygen are supplied to your brain. If the brain is deprived of oxygen for too long, brain tissue can die. This is called a stroke. Your body can be affected in a variety of ways by a stroke including paralysis, loss of speech, or even death.