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Stroke treatment boost in Kochi

Monitoring of patient's heart in intensive care unit.The government-run General Hospital, Ernakulam in Kochi will provide stroke treatment with the opening of a new centre.

A dedicated team to provide stroke treatment and management is being formulated, in order to dispense treatment in a timely and efficient manner to those admitted to the hospital with stroke symptoms. Nephrologist Dr M. Sreedeepan, who heads the team, emphasised the importance of this. “We have already started to offer the services,” “But, patients are being brought to the hospital after two or three days of showing symptoms. 

The Hospital will offer thrombolysis, a treatment which breaks down blood clots. However, as Sreedeepan points out, this treatment requires instantaneous application. “We will be able to provide thrombolysis only if the patient is brought here within the window period of four-and-a-half hours since showing the symptoms.” As such, Sreedeepan adds, “recognising the symptoms and bringing the patient within the window period is key.”

Treatments such as thrombolysis will be offered free of charge at the General Hospital. Expanding upon what the facility will offer, Sreedeepan said it “will become full-fledged only after the opening of the new super speciality block which is under construction. [This] requires a dedicated team comprising [a] neurologist, trained nursing and other staff. 

It also requires a dedicated ICU [intensive care unit] for offering treatment to such patients. As of now, some of the beds in the medical ICU of the hospital would be given to the stroke management wing. Once the super specialty block is opened, authorities will be shifting our unit to the new block. Then, there will be a dedicated ICU for the purpose.”

As with other low- and middle-income countries, India has witnessed an increase in the prevalence of strokes. However, as a 2017 study noted, “lack of reliable reporting mechanisms, heterogeneity in methodology, study population, and small sample size in existing epidemiological studies, make an accurate estimation of stroke burden in India challenging.” 

“Many of the risk factors associated with a stroke are similar to those of heart disease,” as previously noted by Health Issues India. “Obesity, lack of exercise and smoking are all well established risk factors. While a stroke may not always be lethal, it can cause severe disability. In poor families who cannot afford care or treatment, this can later result in the individual passing away.” 

As reported earlier this year, one person suffers a stroke in India every twenty seconds. Around 1.54 million Indians experience a stroke yearly. Concerningly, ninety percent do not reach a hospital in time. This highlights the necessity of facilities such as that at the General Hospital, Ernakulam and raising awareness of the symptoms of a stroke and how to respond when they occur.

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