Saving stroke patients
[PRESS RELEASE 2009-05-28] One of the most important ways of preventing neurological disability and life-threatening complications in the event of stroke is to make sure patients receive adequate care within the first few hours of onset. Because of this, the general public must be made more aware of the typical symptoms of stroke, say several leading stroke researchers at the ongoing 2009 European Stroke Conference in Stockholm.
"Today, we have new, effective treatments that mean that stroke patients who are admitted to hospital within 4.5 hours after the onset of illness develop no lasting after-effects," says Karolinska Institutet's Professor Nils Wahlgren, one of the arrangers of ESC 2009.
A simple way to save life and ensure continued health is to learn the FAST test for quickly identifying a stroke:
- Facial weakness when the person tries to smile, does one side of the mouth drop?
- Arm weakness when the person tries to hold both arms out, does one arm drop?
- Speech difficulty does the person have difficulties saying a simple sentence?
This is the second year in succession that the ESC has been held in Stockholm. The conference, which is to last until the 29 May, has attracted some 2,600 participants from 81 countries. The aims of the conference include advancing the development of new therapies and defining the standard of treatment that stroke patients should receive throughout Europe.
Sweden is ahead of the field as regards stoke care and research into stroke. The world's first national stroke register was started in Sweden.
"We were the first to introduce stroke units into our hospitals. Another example of Sweden's success in this respect is the global SITS (Safe Implementation of Treatments for Stroke) network, which is coordinated from Karolinska Institutet", says Professor Bo Norrving.
"Stroke research is now focused on trying to find a means to prevent the development of post-stroke brain injury and on stimulating lost cerebral functionality," says Professor Wahlgren. One current debate is whether a moderate drop in brain temperature can reduce brain injury after stroke."