Top performer for lifesaving stroke treatment

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) continues to be a provincial leader in providing lifesaving treatment for patients with severe stroke, according to a report released Tuesday by the Ontario Stroke Network.

The annual Ontario Stroke Evaluation Report illustrates the progress being made in stroke care across the province. While performance indicators focus primarily on Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) data, HHS and the Hamilton Outer Core Sub-LHIN, for which HHS’ Hamilton General Hospital is the designated stroke centre, are highlighted as top performers on two key indicators:

1. Timely access to tPA for eligible patients suffering from a severe stroke.
2. Proportion of ischemic stroke patients who receive tPA.

“tPA is crucial for patients to have a chance at a good recovery.”

Acute thrombolytic therapy (tPA) is a drug given intravenously that helps to break up stroke-causing clots, reducing brain damage. The 2015-16 provincial benchmark time for patients to receive tPA from when they arrive at hospital is 33 minutes. Hamilton Health Sciences’ median “door-to-needle” time is 31 minutes, the lowest of all Ontario centres.

“Two million brain cells die with every minute that you delay giving treatment post-stroke, so quick access to tPA is crucial for patients to have a chance at a good recovery,” says Dr. Wes Oczkowski, stroke neurologist at Hamilton General Hospital and medical director for the Central South Regional Stroke Network. “We’re very proud to be a leader in ensuring patients in our region receive this lifesaving therapy.”

Last year, HHS also began offering a new program to provide patients suffering from severe stroke with enhanced treatment to optimize their outcomes. Endovascular therapy, or “EVT”, is a procedure during which doctors physically remove the blood clot using a catheter inserted through the groin. Since June 2016, HHS has performed 68 EVT procedures.

Click here to watch the story of one patient who benefitted from both tPA and EVT treatments at Hamilton General Hospital.

June is Stroke Month. To learn more about stroke prevention, signs and symptoms, visit csnstroke.ca.

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