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Stroke care: NIMHANS to handhold hospitals in Bengaluru

By Express News Service

BENGALURU:   Every one in four people, or 25 per cent of the population, suffers a stroke in his or her lifetime. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) on World Stroke Day, October 29, began a one-of-its-kind, pre-hospital and post-hospital system of care management for stroke cases in Bengaluru and neighbouring districts. NIMHANS experts will train 90-100 nurses and 60-70 doctors over three years.

The institute will develop a system of orderly transfer of patients across hospitals in the government sector. The project will run for four years and will be scaled up to develop similar systems in North Karnataka as well. Dr Srijitesh, Additional Professor of Neurology and incharge of the project, said, “Four-and-a-half hours is the golden period by which time patients must reach a hospital.

During a stroke, brain cells die once every 15 minutes. The earlier a patient arrives at a hospital, better the outcome. However, most people come late as they go to local doctors or nearby facilities that are not stroke ready, in terms of trained personnel and equipment.

Time is lost in referring the person to another hospital.” NIMHANS bears the brunt of referrals as it sees 300-odd stroke cases per month, but can manage only 10 percent of them. The stroke programme was launched on Thursday with online training beginning for health care professionals from 20 government hospitals from Bengaluru and neighbouring areas.

Offline training will take place later. The 20 centres are divided into facilities that will deal acute stroke cases and intermediary care centres that will deal with stabilised stroke patients. Three to four beds will be reserved for stroke patients in each of these hospitals. “The second aspect of this programme is upgrading infrastructure of these hospitals to treat stroke cases.

These centres will be developed as part of a ‘Hub and Spoke’ network cluster in Bengaluru with NIMHANS as a central hub. Partial approval has been received from the National Health Mission and funds are awaited,” said Dr Srijitesh, adding that after the training and upgradation, a call centre will be set up to triage stroke patients.

In addition, an orderly system of referrals will be developed. At present, the absence of orderly referral back policy leads to unaddressed misery to patients and their attendants. Treatment given to stroke patients includes clot dissolving medicine called intravenous thrombolysis and removal of clot using catheter, called endovascular intervention. For larger clots in major arteries to the brain, a procedure called thrombectomy is done, based on the extent of brain damage.

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