KEM hospital’s stroke unit has successfully treated thirty eight patients in the last two years. The BMC run hospital had started a first of its kind service for stroke management in public hospital in October 2015 with the aim to help a stroke patient during the golden hour.
“A Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in our country. Given their abrupt cause, it may lead to a ischaemic stroke. Time, therefore becomes a very precious resource in saving them,” said Dr Sangeeta Ravat, Professor and head of Neurology department, KEM hospital.
She explained that if the cessation of blood lasts longer than the prescribed minutes, it could result in major consequences like brain death or infraction. “If this blood flow is quickly restored, brain tissue can recover fully. We therefore decided to start a dedicated stroke unit and are happy that so far, we have managed to successfully treat 38 people,” said Dr Ravat.
“There are two evidence based treatment options avaiable in our hospital- admission of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) within 4.5 hours of onset stroke symptoms and endovascular mechanical thrombectomy (which removes occluded thrombus from vessel) may be effective in restoring cerebral perfusion,” she added.
Patients at the onset of stroke experience many symptoms like loss of sensation or motor function on one side of body, facial deviation among others. The aim of treatment a stroke is to restore blood circulation. “Acute stroke treatment with thrombolysis (blood clotting) during the golden hour gives a much better outcome and reduces the morbidity and mortality considerably,” said Dr Ravat.
“The rtPA has to be given within 4.5 hours of onset of symptoms of stroke. If it is delayed then we cannot thrombolise patient,” added Dr Ravat
She said, while stroke units are predominantly available in urban areas, most of them are available in private hospitals in India which make it inaccessible to the poor, having a stroke unit in public sector makes this expensive treatment available to lower socio-economic class of patients. “We have made this drug available free for immediate use and which a patient has to replace within 48 hours,” added Dr Ravat.
The stroke unit team consist of neurologists – Dr Sangeeta Ravat, Dr Neeraj Jain, Dr Ashwinikumar Patil, Dr Jayendra Yadav, Dr Rushikesh Deshpande and Neurology residents, Neurosurgeon- Dr Nitin Dange (Professor) and Radiologist, Dr Shilpa Sankhe.
“To overcome the barriers of delay in stroke thrombolysis we are conducting regular stroke awareness program for public awareness,” said Dr Ashwinikumar Patil (assistant professor).