More seeking emergency treatment quickly after suffering stroke: Study

Guests, including stroke survivor Eugene Escanan (seated), take part in a mass exercise during the launch of the nationwide stroke awareness campaign held at Hong Kah North Community Club on Oct 29, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Guests, including stroke survivor Eugene Escanan (seated), take part in a mass exercise during the launch of the nationwide stroke awareness campaign held at Hong Kah North Community Club on Oct 29, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - More people this year have started seeking emergency treatment within the optimal time period after suffering a stroke, a local study has found.

Some 41 per cent of people sought treatment at hospitals within 3.5 hours, and 58 per cent within seven hours.

The numbers are higher compared with 28 per cent and 42 per cent registered for the same time periods last year when the first Stroke Awareness Campaign was launched.

Getting to hospital within this window is critical, as certain time-sensitive treatments can no longer be carried out once this time has passed.

When it comes to stroke, doctors typically have two options - to dissolve the blood clot causing the stroke, or use a minimally invasive method to remove it from a person's blood vessels.

However, the first method can only be carried out within 4.5 hours and the second within six to eight hours. If left untreated, a stroke can cause brain damage leading to permanent disability.

One in six people here will have a stroke in their lifetimes, with a person's chances going up as they age. It is the fourth leading cause of death here, with some 8,000 strokes recorded yearly.

The study's findings were announced at the launch of this year's Stroke Awareness Campaign on Sunday morning (Oct 29), which is also World Stroke Day.

The campaign hopes to get more people aware of the telltale signs that a stroke is happening, which include facial drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty.

Those who experience these symptoms should call an ambulance immediately.

"All of us can and should do our part by learning about stroke and the measures that can be adopted to help ourselves and those around us," said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, who spoke at the launch event at Hong Kah North Community Club.