Better stroke care from QEH
THE QUEEN Elizabeth Hospital wants to fast-track care for the scores of stroke sufferers in Barbados.Yesterday at a workshop for health and safety officers at the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Labour College at Mangrove, St Philip, QEH consultant Dr David Corbin said there was a plan to launch thrombolytic therapy at the hospital, which would improve a patient’s chances of recovery.“Once a person can get to the hospital within an hour [of an attack], then there is a possibility that we will be able to give a medication to open up the artery,” he said.Corbin said that if an artery was blocked and medication could be administered (this should be done within three hours), there was a great chance of recovery following the stroke. He added that sometimes the stroke could be reversed.“It is an exciting area for us at the hospital. We want to see this occurring more. So we want to encourage people to recognise early, get their relatives, friends to get them to hospital quickly so that we can at least consider whether this medication is worth giving.“We want to see this service taking off in Barbados. We are getting the team together at the hospital and would like this to be the standard of care in the next few months,” he said.Corbin stressed that the medication was useless if more than three hours elapsed after the stroke.“Response time has to be short. Time is brain. As each moment goes by, brain cells are dying.”Corbin said that on average 350 people [first-timers] suffered a stroke annually, which was almost one per day.“If we include recurrent strokes, in other words people who have had more than one stroke, then about 500 events occur per year, which is more than one a day,” he said.He said that about 70 per cent of cases of stroke had a history of hypertension, adding that controlling the blood pressure was important. Corbin said that hypertension and diabetes were the two leading risk factors relating to strokes. Corbin added that salt intake in the country was too high.“Those of us of African descent respond very badly to high salt. It increases the incidence of hypertension, and that increases the likelihood of strokes.” Corbin warned Barbadians to cook with less salt and reduce intake of pigtails, salt meat, ham, processed meats, chips, fast food, bacon and crackers.