Emilia Clarke has ‘quite a bit missing’ from her brain after suffering two aneurysms

“I’m in the small minority of people that can survive that.”

Emilia Clarke has revealed that she is missing “quite a bit” of her brain after suffering two aneurysms while filming Game of Thrones.

After wrapping the filming of the first series of the popular fantasy drama Game of Thrones in 2011, the 35-year-old suffered her first aneurysm, which led to a stroke and a subarachnoid haemorrhage, and her second aneurysm in 2013. Both times, she underwent immediate brain surgery.

And while she is now doing well, Emilia Clarke has admitted that there is a large amount of her brain “that is no longer usable”.

“It’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions,” the British actress expressed her gratitude for living a normal life during an interview with BBC One’s Sunday Morning over the weekend. “I am in the really, really, really small minority of people that can survive that.”

Emilia continued: “There’s quite a bit missing! Which always makes me laugh. Because strokes, basically, as soon as any part of your brain doesn’t get blood for a second, it’s gone. And so the blood finds a different route to get around, but then whatever bit it’s missing is therefore gone.”

It has been three years since the Me Before You actress first spoke of the traumatising health scare that left her fighting for her life.

In a personal essay entitled A Battle for My Life, published in The New Yorker in 2019, Clarke revealed how she had been working out with a personal trainer at the gym when an agonising headache struck her before she collapsed and was rushed to hospital in 2011.

“The diagnosis was quick and ominous: a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. I’d had an aneurysm, an arterial rupture.

Emilia Clarke has ‘quite a bit missing’ from her brain after suffering two aneurysms

“As I later learned, about a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon thereafter. For the patients who do survive, urgent treatment is required to seal off the aneurysm, as there is a very high risk of a second, often fatal bleed. If I was to live and avoid terrible deficits, I would have to have urgent surgery. And, even then, there were no guarantees.”

The star underwent immediate brain surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London and spent several days recovering in intensive care.

Things took a turn for the worse, though, when the stroke left her with memory and speech problems, revealing that one night during her recovery process, she couldn’t even remember her name.

“I was suffering from a condition called aphasia, a consequence of the trauma my brain had suffered,” Clarke explained. “Even as I was muttering nonsense, my mum did me the great kindness of ignoring it and trying to convince me that I was perfectly lucid. But I knew I was faltering. In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug. I asked the medical staff to let me die. My job – my entire dream of what my life would be – centred on language, on communication. Without that, I was lost.”

After a week in the I.C.U, the aphasia passed. Clarke went on to explain that she underwent second brain surgery in 2013, which prompted a near-fatal brain bleed. After a third life-saving operation, she spent a month recovering in hospital but was left with titanium plates in her skull.

Emilia has used her experience to set up the charity, SameYou, which aims to raise money for people recovering from brain injuries and strokes. We’re glad she is happy, healthy and thriving!

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