Approx. 13.6 million people worldwide suffer from strokes each year. It is a silent killer, accounting for more deaths than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis put together. Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability, with a probability of 1 in 4 people over the age of 25 suffering a stroke in their lifetime. It is also the second-highest cause of death. Surgical treatment is possible for stroke.
Thrombectomy surgery is a time-sensitive emergency treatment that can be done up to 24 hours from the onset of stroke symptoms. It can reverse long-term stroke paralysis in a majority of eligible patients who have suffered severe strokes, and consequently saves lives. Of the 2-3 million who are eligible for thrombectomy surgery, only about 200,000 actually receive this particular mode of treatment. Thus, the number of eligible stroke patients worldwide who don’t receive thrombectomy care is over a million.
Stroke thrombectomy is a minimally invasive, emergency surgery that was recognized as Standard of Care by Stroke Association guidelines in 2015. It is a highly effective treatment for severe strokes due to large artery blockage in the brain. If performed within 24 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, the treatment can reverse long-term paralysis and even prevent death. The procedure accomplishes this by restoring blood flow to the brain by opening blocked arteries with catheter-based devices introduced through the groin or wrist arteries, thereby saving brain tissue from permanent damage.
There is a need therefore to raise awareness among people of this life-saving procedure. The Society of Vascular and Interventional Neurology (SVIN) Mission Thrombectomy 2020+ Initiative (MT2020+) will announce the first annual World Stroke Thrombectomy Day at the Global MT Revolution Regional Conference on May 15, 2021. By designating this official day, MT2020+ plans to raise public awareness about thrombectomy surgery for the treatment of severe stroke and instil new global calls to action.
In their words, SVIN says “We are very pleased to announce this annual global day that allows us to call on various stakeholders around the world to rapidly, equitably and sustainably continue to improve access to Thrombectomy for stroke in their regions. The first World Stroke Thrombectomy Day will be announced on May 15th when 22 countries will begin to report on the tremendous progress in thrombectomy access that has been made in their regions,”
The SVIN strongly believes that the present conditions of stroke patients can be greatly improved if Governments and Health Policymakers allocate resources to build regional thrombectomy systems and also implement regional emergency transportation protocols to triage eligible patients to thrombectomy capable hospitals such as Narayana Health.
However, such contributions by the government must also be complemented by medical educators engaged in organized medicine rapidly increasing training a large number of physicians who would be highly skilled and deft at handling mechanical thrombectomy procedures. Because the number of stroke sufferers not receiving care is over a million, there must be an equally great force of doctors to treat it too.
Let us all help spread the word about Thrombectomy surgery to the millions who would be impacted in a beneficial way by it. Stroke can be defeated, at the individual, community, country and worldwide levels, if we all spread awareness of the possibility of thrombectomy surgery. But we must also remember though that thrombectomy surgery is the cure for stroke. We must make changes to our life by beginning with healthy eating habits and good exercise to ensure that we reduce the possibility of stroke, to begin with. Let’s begin today, and continue to do so! Eat healthily, live happily!
Dr. Tariq Matin, Senior Consultant & Clinical Lead (North Region) – Neurology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi and Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram
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