SRINAGAR: “Use of a clot-busting drug saves lives of stroke patients, but at Kashmir hospitals patients don’t receive this life-saving treatment,” said Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday.
DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued here said without treatment, stroke patients end up permanently disabled. He said the tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the approved clot-busting intravenous medication that works by dissolving blood clots which cause most strokes.
Dr Nisar said timely treatment of this clot-buster reduces disability and improves functionality by restoring blood flow to the brain. “Treatment must start within three hours (in some cases, four-and-a- half hours) of the stroke onset, and the sooner the better,” he said.
Quoting a study, Dr Nisar said patients who did not receive tPA following a stroke were 49 percent more likely to die than those who did receive the treatment. “Despite life-saving benefits of the drug, patients don’t get it,” he said.
DAK president said the peripheral hospitals don’t have stroke management system in place and patients end up in tertiary care hospitals. He said majority of stroke victims don’t reach these hospitals within the crucial time frame due to delayed transportation.
“Lack of public awareness about the signs of stroke and importance of seeking immediate medical care also leads to delay in arrival at hospitals. Patients who arrive at hospitals in time and are perfect candidates for the clot-buster are not offered this life-saving measure. And the result is paralysis, impaired cognition, speech or vision, emotional and behavioural dysfunction and many other permanent neurological injuries,” he said.
Dr Nisar said stroke is the leading cause of death and serious long-term disability in the valley.
“Risk of stoke increases for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and for those who smoke,” he said. “According to WHO, one in six people will have a stroke in lifetime that is more than 1.5 million Kashmiris which is a huge number of people.”