Every hour counts for stroke victims. The sooner they get to hospital, the better their outcome. The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and Urgences Santé announced today a new initiative to get stroke victims to the hospital and treated as fast as possible. This programme builds on an initiative started more than a year ago by the Centre Hospitalier l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), where the Stroke Centre was launched in August 2002.
"By the time an individual arrives in hospital some permanent damage has already occurred," says MUHC Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Dr. Richard Riopelle. "The aim of this programme is to deliver timely treatment which will stop further injury."
Strokes are caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain. This can occur as the result of ruptured blood vessels or by a blood clot blocking the flow. They are the third leading cause of death in Quebec.
"We have specialized 'clot-buster' medication that, if given within three hours of the stroke, can restore blood flow to the affected parts of the brain," says Dr. Riopelle. "For every brain cell we save, there is one less obstacle for the patient."
"It is our mandate to deliver the best care to our patients. Programmes such as those at the MUHC and the CHUM facilitate this mandate," says Urgences Santé Medical Director Dr. Marcel Boucher. "The coordination and cooperation between our emergency technicians and the hospitals is the best way to ensure that stroke victims are treated as quickly as possible."
"About 40 percent of patients recover their condition and return to normal life," say Dr. Riopelle. "Our aim is to increase this percentage and send more patients home healthy."