Less or no knowledge about the common stroke sometimes costs life or mobility to the patient. However,the new thrombolytic therapy brings hope for patients.
It was 5.30 in the morning; Praful Patil (68) was preparing his usual tea,when he suddenly began to feel weak and dizzy. Later he realised that he had lost balance and was lying on the ground,unable to move nor cry for help. Fortunately,his wife came to his rescue and found that the right side of her husband’s body had gone limp and he was unable to move.
The neighbours,who were alerted by Vaishali Patil’s cry for help,immediately informed the local doctor. At 7.30 am the doctor arrived and on diagnosis,Patil was found to be affected by ischemic stroke.
He was later rushed to the nearest hospital and by the time the doctors began operating him,a lot of precious hours had been lost. At the end of the operation,doctors declared him permanently disabled and expressed hope that he could have continued living a normal life if admitted earlier.
Like Patil,around 15 million people across the world are affected by stroke every year. Nearly three – forth of stroke occurs in people above the age of 65 and the risk is high in developing permanent disability.
Details about stroke
Very few people are aware of what stroke is and the emergency it can present. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that brings oxygen and nutrients to the brain either bursts or gets clogged by a blood clot or some other mass. Stroke due to clogging (ischemic stroke) is more common,accounts for 80 per cent of all strokes. Ischemic stroke often occurs at night or in the morning hours.
According to Dr N R Ichaporia,consultant neurologist,Jehangir Hospital,Pune “Whatever be the type of stroke,it deprives a part of the brain of vital blood and oxygen,leading to dysfunction of the part of the body it controls”. This disability can sometimes be permanent,and in severe cases,can even result in death. Depending on the area of the brain involved,a patient can have paralysis of one half of the body,vision problems,speech or language problems,memory loss,emotional and behavior changes,etc.
How to manage stroke?
The most important factor in managing stroke is the need for timely treatment. During stroke,the patient should be immediately taken to a specialised stroke centre,where his vital signs can be monitored and thrombolytic therapy – if required – can be started early to dissolve the clot that is blocking the flow of blood through the vessel.
According to the recent ECAAS – III study,presented in the World Stroke Congress it is necessary to administer the drug alteplase within 4.5 hours after the onset of Ischemic stroke symptoms. The study indicates that the patient treated with alteplase up to 4.5 hours is safe,effective and minimises or prevents disability.
The research was conducted among 821 patients,where nearly 418 were administered alteplase. There was a 34 % improvement in patients treated with alteplase beyond the three – hour time frame compared to the nearest drug.
This finding would benefit a patient like Patil to live a perfectly normal life without being disabled,even if alteplase would be given post the three-hour time limit as per earlier belief.
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