Specialised Units Across Country To Treat Stroke Patients
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29 October 2010
Soon, stroke patients will have specialised units across the country with technical expertise and required equipment to treat them. Dr Shirish Hastak, president of Indian Stroke Association (ISA) and consultant at Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, announced an initiative to accredit the hospitals on the basis of infrastructure and expertise to treat stroke patients.
Dr Hastak said, "Over the last few years, there have been many cases of patients turning up at hospitals that are not equipped to handle such crisis situations. This lead to loss of precious time." He said the golden period of saving such patients is 3–4.5 hours after the stroke. A team of seven doctors from leading hospitals across the country will visit different hospitals, and supervise the setting up of specialised stroke units.
"We plan to establish five comprehensive units which will require to have top facilities. These include a 24/7 MRI, CT scan and blood bank facilities, and expertise for thrombolysis– a procedure of busting a clot in the brain by injecting a drug," said Dr Hastak. Two hundred other hospitals in various districts of the country will be accredited by ISA as primary stroke treatment centres. "Here we will insist on a CT scan and a trained neurologist," said Dr Hastak.
The 320 member body will also launch a stroke mentorship programme where neurologists will be trained specifically for throbolysis. "Of the 1200 neurologists in the country, not all know how to administer this procedure," Dr Hastak added.
Doctors from public hospitals say this is because of the expensive nature of the procedure. According to Dr M Mehendiratta, professor of Neurology at GB Pant hospital in Delhi, who is a member of this seven member committee, "The neurology syllabus in government medical colleges only touches upon the procedure and does not deal with it very intensively.
Thus, specific training for this procedure is the need of the hour, especially since brain strokes are no longer restricted to the metropolis." He added that knowledge on areas like contra symptoms–or specific indications where the procedure should not be administered like a hemmorrage situation was lacking.
According to the World Stroke organisation, every year, 14 lakh people develop a stroke, but very few reach neurologists on time. "Awareness about heart attacks is widespread. But people ignore classic symptoms of a brain stroke which may be as mild as slurring of the speech or a slight immobility in some limbs," said Dr Mehendiratta.