• 11/1/2023
    ​Doha, 29 October 2023: Hamad Medical Corporation’s Stroke Service exceeds international benchmarks for quality of care by ensuring that 69% of acute stroke patients are treated within 60 minutes of arrival to the emergency exceeding the international benchmark of 50%.

    The speed at which treatment can be given to stroke patients is vital to a successful outcome, said Dr. Ahmed Mohd. Abdulla Own, Director of Neuroscience Institute, HMC. “A stroke leads to the complete or partial restriction of blood flow in the brain and damages brain cells so they can no longer work properly. The faster treatment can be given following a stroke, the better the chances of recovery. The more time that passes between the stroke happening and medical intervention, the greater the damage that can be done.

    “The multi-disciplinary nature of HMC’s Stroke Service has contributed greatly to ensuring stroke patients in Qatar receive the safest, most effective and compassionate care. The extensive team involved in the treatment of each stroke patient is central to the multi-disciplinary care patients receive. Stroke Neurologists and Physicians, Emergency Medical Services, ED team, Radiology, Stroke Ward, Stroke trained Nurses, Allied Health professionals, Rehabilitation team, Stroke Clinical Nurse Specialists and Interns, all provide their expertise in shaping patient treatment plans according to each patient’s individual needs,” explained Dr. Own. 

    “On World Stroke Day, 29 October, we raise awareness of stroke, talk about its prevention and treatment, and ensure better care and support for survivors because stroke is still the second leading cause of death worldwide, and the third leading cause of disability,” states Dr. Own.

    He states that during last year, around 2500 suspected stroke patients were treated in the Emergency Department of HMC, and one in four people will have a stroke in their lifetime. 90 percent of those strokes could be prevented by addressing a small number of risk factors including high blood pressure (hypertension), irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation), smoking, diet and exercise. 

    “This year, we are supporting the global stroke community to raise awareness and drive action on stroke prevention by focusing attention on stroke and chronic conditions or habits that can predispose someone to having a stroke,” he stresses.
    Dr Naveed Akhtar, Head of Stroke Services HGH and Sr Consultant Nursing highlighted that the chronic conditions and habits that are risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, bad diets, sedentary lifestyle and smoking. “High blood pressure affects about half of people in the world and often has no noticeable symptoms.  More than half of all strokes are associated with hypertension or high blood pressure. A simple blood pressure check can determine whether you have high blood pressure, and a health professional can advise on whether your condition can be managed with lifestyle changes and/or the right medication,” he explains.

    “Diabetes, Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes contribute to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which increases the risk of blood clot or a ruptured blood vessel. People with diabetes are also likely to experience a number of additional stroke risk factors including obesity, poor diet, inactivity, and high cholesterol,” Dr. Akhtar explains. 

    Dr. Akhtar notes that smoking tobacco also increases the risk of having a stroke. “Someone who smokes 20 cigarettes a day is six times more likely to have a stroke compared to a non-smoker. If you are a smoker, quitting will reduce your risk of stroke and a range of other diseases. If you live with a non-smoker, quitting will reduce their stroke risk too,” he cautions.

    Dr Osama Elalamy, A/ Head Neurology Department HGH highlights six key facts about stroke treatment which include early recognition of stroke, getting treatment quickly, using clot-busting drugs (tPA or thrombolysis) or getting clot retrieval treatment, rehabilitation and preventing stroke reoccurrence by taking drugs to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, antiplatelet therapies, anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation, surgery or stenting for selected patients with severe carotid artery narrowing.

    “Around the world, around 80 million people have experienced a stroke. Stroke can affect how you think, talk, move and feel. Many survivors will live the rest of their lives with some form of disability or impairment which cause practical, emotional and financial challenges. But with specialist rehabilitation and support, stroke survivors can however recover or find their 'new normal' and enjoy life. In addition, lifestyle changes can also greatly reduce the risk of another stroke. Changes include eating well, being physically active, being tobacco-free, managing stress, and limiting alcohol consumption,” Dr. Elalamy adds.