Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stroke: When in doubt, scan please !

There are two types of strokes - ischemic and haemorrhagic. The first is the result of a clot that blocks supply of blood to the brain. The second is due to a burst vessel. Both cause permanent brain damage. Haemorragic stroke has no fixes - once the brain is damaged the only thing really one can do is remove the blood and hope the patient will regain function if the brain rewires. Thankfully haemorrhagic stroke occurs in 17 percent of cases.

700,000 Americans experience a stroke every year, ending up with paralysis or hemiparalysis in large proportions. 1.6 millions are paralyzed today due to stroke.

Mostly people experience a shut off of blood supply - ischemic stroke, a condition that is potentially fixable within a 3-hour timeframe if detected. Detection needs a CT scan. If one can get it done in 45 minutes, there's time to get to a interventional neurologist or administer tpa, a clot-busting medicine that works in a minority of cases

Looks like a very important standard continues to hang in balance. Its an issue that could potentially save thousands from debilitating paralysis. Meanwhile, companies like InTouch, that had a breakthrough communication device being used for remote consults on stroke (amongst other diseases) will continue to be critical to get neurospecialists in front of patients in remote locations that need the help.

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