Montreal Gazette, et al. - Stroke treatment is taking too long, study finds


Stroke victims arriving at Canadian hospitals aren't being treated quickly enough, creating "unacceptable" delays that are increasing the risk of irreversible and devastating brain damage, according to a major new study.

The finding is part of the wider problem, highlighted in the study, that strokes aren't being treated like the medical emergencies they are by the tens of thousands of Canadians who suffer them each year. It's based on a national review of hospital records and data representing more than 38,000 patients admitted with stroke across the country in 2008-09. The audit by the Canadian Stroke Network, the first of its kind in this country…

"Every minute of delay in stroke treatment results in the loss of two million brain cells," Dr. Robert Côté, chair of the study's national steering committee and a professor at Montreal's McGill University, said Thursday. But people often ignore symptoms of stroke, "or [they] lie down and wait for symptoms to pass," he said. "This means that people who could recover from stroke are instead suffering disability and death."