Stroke: A Battle Against Time

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 21: Stroke care is one of the costliest healthcare conditions – worldwide.
Experiencing a stroke is a leading precursor to serious, long-term disability, the effects of which may be prolonged with physical, emotional, social, and financial consequences not only for those affected but also for their family and friends.
However, as key developments in modern medicine continue to grow, there are many forms of comprehensive stroke care available to lessen these effects and prevent the worst from happening. 
Early diagnosis is key in avoiding a severe consequences as a result of stroke.
Most stroke patients arrive at the hospital a little too late and are unable to take advantage of a clot-busting drug that significantly reduces stroke symptoms and lessens the chance of permanent disability if delivered within three hours of the onset of symptoms. 
“Stroke is actually equivalent to a heart attack,” Dr Lee Tuan Cheong, Consultant Emergency Physician from Sunway Medical Centre said. 
“If you have symptoms of chest pain, it is urgent for you to visit the hospital to receive treatment, or, you may risk cardiac arrest, or death due to a heart attack.”

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“The earlier you present your symptoms to us, the earlier healthcare professionals are able to help you assess the severity of your symptoms, whilst being able to discuss with your family on how to proceed with the treatment,” he adds. 
Healthcare is a multidisciplinary profession in which doctors, nurses, and health professionals from various specialties must work together, communicate often, and share resources.
A successful multidisciplinary health team strives to make the most comprehensive assessment of a patient’s situation and to follow it up with a full-range plan of treatment – all so that timely and seamless care can be delivered to the patient effectively. 
Stroke teams are larger than many healthcare teams, so coordination and effective collaboration are important.

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“It is important in this day and age to have a good volume of manpower with some members of the team specialising in certain areas to deliver a comprehensive amount of care,” Dr Johan Quah, Consultant Neurosurgeon from Sunway Medical Centre said.
“For example, you need a good paramedic team to be able to respond to an emergency in a timely manner.
“Because in most cases of stroke, the Door to Needle Time is crucial.”
Working with a multidisciplinary team allows you to treat the patient in a holistic manner and provide the best, comprehensive care. With each physician focused on a different aspect of the patient’s health, providers are more likely to identify areas of need, and subsequently manage those needs in an effective way. 
“It is important to have a comprehensive stroke team,” Dr Quah said.
“No patient should be left behind.
“Everyone should be consulted and have access to 24/7 healthcare, if not, you can’t call yourself a comprehensive stroke centre.
“Over here at Sunway Medical Centre, we take pride in ourselves as we fulfil all the criteria from ambulance services, paramedic services, nursing teams to A&E (Accident and Emergency).”

Due to the centre’s facilities and achievements, Sunway’s Stroke Centre has been dubbed as one of the first private local hospitals in Klang Valley to be awarded the World Stroke Organisation (WSO) Angels (Platinum) Award 2020.
WSO Angels Awards recognise hospitals that have demonstrated clear commitment to quality stroke care and have established cultures and systems to support continuous improvement.
“There are a few criteria in which the hospital must meet in order to win the award.
“First, how many stroke patients were presented to your hospital and how many percent of them receive thrombolysis, thrombectomy or neurosurgery treatment.
“Second, how soon the treatment is given to them.
“There is a golden hour, from the time the patient reaches our centre till the treatment that they’re given, and all these must be done as soon as possible,” Dr Lee added. 

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