Stroke admissions spiralling | Sunday Observer

Stroke admissions spiralling

More than 1,000 stroke victims are admitted every year to all leading hospitals including the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Teaching Hospitals in Kandy, Karapitiya, Colombo South and the Jaffna Hospital.

While a majority of strokes occur after 60 years of age, 33% occurred in people less than 60 years, still in the productive age of their lives. A disturbing trend emerging now is that 7% were young stroke patients (less than 45 years).

These findings were disclosed by Consultant Neurologist, Dr Padma Gunaratne, and her team ( Dr Senaka Bandusena, Dr Vijayabal Jeevagan and Dr AIA Ziyad) involved in the Sri Lanka Stroke Clinical Registry.

According to the team, the prevalence rate was 10 per 1,000, which pointed to one in every hundred persons having had a stroke in Sri Lanka. “80% of stroke are ischemic (due to occlusion of blood vessel) and 20% are haemorrhagic ( bleeding into brain), 9% were mini stroke or TIAs. (Transient ischemic attacks)”, Dr Guneratne says, in her report on the Lankan situation on stroke victims.

Globally, 1.7 million people suffer a stroke every year, and 6.5 million succumb to stroke annually.

There are 2.6 million living with stroke. One in every six suffers a stroke at some stage of their lifespan.

The Teaching Hospital Kandy recorded 1,432 stroke admissions per year. Of these, 57 % are males. At all age groups males outnumbered the females except in the category above 80 years, the team found. They noted, 85% and 62% had developed weakness and speech involvement, respectively, as symptoms on presentation.

“They were the most common symptoms. Headache, difficulty in swallowing, sensory symptoms, fits, imbalance and visual impairment occurred in lesser frequency”, the report added. Commenting on the risk of getting another stroke, after a first attack, the team noted that such patients carried the highest risk of having another stroke.”

Past history of stroke was present in 18% of patients”, they observed. They said, high blood pressure was the most common risk factor and was present in 69% of patients. Diabetes was present in 36% of patients. 30% of males were smokers. Stressing the importance of early treatment they said, the time taken to reach the hospital is critical for recovery following the stroke.

Only 16% had reached the hospital within 3 hours of symptom onset.

“Many of the deaths that happened after discharge would have been averted with optimum care in hospitals. Stroke patients were best cared in Stroke Units. Public awareness to reach the hospital early and recognize stroke symptoms early, is critical”, they stressed.