World Stroke Day 2018: A new-age therapy for stroke prevention
Stroke is a major health problem today. According to a study conducted recently, 1 in 6 people are likely to suffer from stroke once in their lifetimes.
So, what are the warning signs to watch out for? And how can individuals prevent an onset?
On the occasion of World Stroke Day, which falls on October 29, Dr Pravin Chandra, Chairman - Interventional Cardiology, Medanta Medicity, talks about some of the symptoms and causes behind strokes, as well as certain prevention and treatment measures.
He’s in conversation with Dr. Jayesh Jani, Medical Director, Asia Pacific, Boston Scientific.
“Stroke has a sudden onset. Patients might first notice that half of their body becomes weak, like the left arm or the right leg for example, or they might notice that half of their body has gone to sleep. They might also notice that they can’t walk,” says Dr Chandra.
Other symptoms include a sudden change in vision or the ability to speak, he adds.
Types of strokes
Explaining the two kinds of strokes, Dr Chandra says that while a hemorrhagic stroke happens when a weak blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain, an ischemic stroke occurs when there is a reduction in blood flow to the brain.
Highlighting the common risk factors for stroke, he says that apart from hypertension and diabetes, atrial fibrillation (Afib) is one.
“Afib is an irregular rhythm of the heart. This can be because of an abnormality in the heart valve or it can also be without a valve problem,” explains Dr. Chandra.
Prevention is key
The doctor says that Novel (new) Oral Anticoagulants (also called NOACs or blood thinners) and warfarin, which are often recommended to Afib patients, cause heavy bleeding. So, if you suffer even a minor injury, you may have trouble stopping the blood flow.
The solution to this lies in the use of a Left Atrial Appendage Closure device (also called LAAC), says Dr. Chandra.
“The LAAC is a permanent heart implant which effectively reduces the risk of stroke—without the risk of bleeding that can come with the long-term use of blood thinners. It permanently closes off a small pouch in the left atrium so that a clot cannot form there. The device can also eliminate the regular blood tests and diet restrictions that come with warfarin.”
He adds that the therapy is available at most premier medical institutes in India.
To know more about strokes and the LAAC, watch the interview.