No stroke unit at Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru; Nimhans only hope
Dr Deepak, Superintendent, of Victoria Hospital added that the government has approved a stroke unit at Victoria in collaboration with Nimhans on a hub-and-spoke model basis, which is to come 'soon'.
BENGALURU: Stroke is the fourth most common cause of death in India after cancer, cardiac diseases, and road accidents, yet there is little awareness and a lack of appropriate medical facilities in government hospitals to help revive people during the golden hour -- the first four hours after a stroke occurs. Stroke is the leading cause of lifelong disability, if not treated within the first four hours.
Despite being a major health concern, the top government hospital in Karnataka, Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru, does not have a stroke unit. A stroke patient brought to Victoria Hospital within the critical window period is rushed to Nimhans for emergency treatment. “On average, we get two to three stroke patients per month during the golden hour.
We rush them to Nimhans as it is the only government hospital with a fully equipped stroke unit. Around 95% of stroke patients who come to Victoria arrive way past the golden hour, largely because of no facilities and lack of awareness,” the Medical Superintendent, of Victoria Hospital, Dr Deepak said. He added that the government has approved a stroke unit at Victoria in collaboration with Nimhans on a hub-and-spoke model basis, which is likely to come up “soon”.
Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain tissue is blocked by a blood clot (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke), causing brain cells to die and leading to functional impairments.
“Although stroke remains a critical health issue, better management of cardiovascular risk factors, greater awareness of symptoms, and prompt medical attention prevent timely identification and treatment of stroke patients,” said Dr Satish Chandra, adviser and senior consultant, Neurology, Apollo Hospitals, Jayanagar. He recently treated former CM HD Kumaraswamy, who was admitted to the hospital last week after a stroke. “He had come during golden hour. He had suffered an ischemic stroke because of which his speech was altered and his right arm was weak. We immediately attended to him and he was discharged on the fourth day of admission,” he added.
He said stroke can be identified with four symptoms -- BEFAST (loss of balance, eye focus, facial distortion, weakness in arms, alteration of speech and time). “If you notice any of these symptoms in a person occurring acutely, rush him to the nearest stroke-ready hospital without wasting time. A stroke-ready hospital has imaging equipment -- MRI, CT Scan etc and an interventional neuroradiologist among other neuro specialists,” he added.
Dr Chandra, who is also professor emeritus, at the National Academy of Medical Sciences, and former director and vice-chancellor, Nimhans, said that stroke can be prevented if the risk factors -- high blood pressure or hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, use of alcohol and nicotine and stress -- are taken care of and minimized. “Stroke is usually seen in patients above 60 years, but it can also happen to people in their early 40s. Once you cross 40, you should have regular medical health checkups. Stress has become a major health hazard. People should learn to de-stress and alter their lifestyles, have good healthy diet, and 7-8 hours of sleep to live healthy and prevent stress. Yoga is a very useful technique to de-stress,” added Dr Chandra.