Stroke, one of the leading causes of death and disability in India requires a comprehensive solution
According to the Indian Stroke Association, the incidence of stroke in India has increased by almost 100 per cent in the past few decades. Around 1.8 million people in India suffer from a stroke every year and it is only early treatment that can reduce morbidity and mortality. However, even as this growing non-communicable disease threatens the larger populace, stroke treatment and rehabilitation remain underdeveloped in the country. Undoubtedly, an integrated and comprehensive approach to address the growing burden of stroke is the need of the hour.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact lives, a recent study by JAMA Neurology in July 2020 draws a correlation between individuals affected with COVID-19 and an elevated risk of ischemic stroke. Hence, a further burden towards stroke care has called for a critical understanding of stroke among the general public.
The ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke across the globe and it is caused when a clot or other blockage affects a brain artery. Consequently, it becomes critical to manage the time between the onset of stroke and its treatment. According to studies patients who are exposed to treatment in 0–90 min of the first onset of stroke have increased chances of improvement if proper treatment protocol is followed. A delay in seeking the right treatment leads to instances of disability and can sometimes be fatal.
One of the major problems that obstruct better stroke care and outcomes is inaccurate knowledge of stroke risk factors and proper practices of stroke prevention. Medtronic’s mission of alleviating pain, restoring health and extending lives guides everything that we do. They are collaborating with health care professionals to establish root causes and implement changes to create efficiencies and optimize coordinated care to develop comprehensive stroke solution. Increasing awareness and promoting health seeking behaviour will also result in patients being identified faster, referred to comprehensive centres immediately, and receiving the best treatment.
As no single entity can address the challenges of health care alone, we are partnering with stakeholders in new ways to devise solutions that address patients’ needs. Our recent collaboration with Apollo Hospitals is one such example. Aimed towards developing a comprehensive stroke program, this partnership involves Medtronic supporting Apollo Hospitals with stroke technologies, technical expertise, training and setting up of 10 comprehensive stroke ready centres in the country. By creating centres of excellence and integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI), we are aiming to develop an overall comprehensive stroke pathway where technology will help getting access of brain scans remotely to physicians 24/7 which will lead to faster diagnosis and decision making and will save critical time required in treating the patient.
As such, in a developing nation like India, majority of stroke survivors continue to live with disabilities, and the costs of on-going rehabilitation and long-term care are largely undertaken by family members, which impoverish their families. Public education and spreading mass awareness are key steps to preventing a stroke . Recognizing symptoms and early diagnosis can save more lives every day.