Timely treatment key for stroke recovery

Canadians may know hockey, but we need to work on our stroke IQ.

A major national study by the Canadian Stroke Network finds two-thirds of stroke patients admitted to hospital don’t get there in time to receive the best possible care.

South-Ottawa resident Hector Mackenzie suffered a stroke almost three years ago and received tPA, a clot dissolving drug, promptly.

It happened while he was in Kingston, but since then he’s been receiving follow-up care at the Civic hospital.

Ottawa paramedic spokesman J.P. Trotttier said the service received about 1,000 calls for strokes and mini-strokes in 2010.

Once on the scene, paramedics quickly assess patients to conclude whether their symptoms are stroke related or not.

“And at that time, immediate action has to be taken. If it’s within the (three-hour) treatment window, the hospitals and treatments are absolutely amazing nowadays, versus about 10, 15 years ago and can actually reverse strokes,” said Trottier.

He recommends always calling 911 instead of getting to the hospital on your own.

“You know, paramedics don’t mind if we get to scene and it’s something else,” he said.

Every minute is crucial when it comes to a stroke and if tPA is needed and administered, the results can be astounding.

“It is absolutely phenomenal to see that person, perhaps completely paralyzed on one side, 10 minutes later, they are moving. So it is almost a miraculous drug and wonderful to see,” said Trottier.

Mackenzie agrees that time is key.

“If you delay or wait until it passes, you’re just causing yourself permanent disability,” he said.


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