Posted on October 04, 2018

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has established an advanced telestroke service as part of efforts to provide the highest standards of care for stroke patients.

The new service enables experts at the Hamad General Hospital (HGH) to monitor stroke patients at regional hospitals through video conferencing and prescribe treatment. The service will be initially available at the HMC’s hospitals Al Khor and Al Wakra. Later, it will be expanded to the Industrial Area hospital, said Dr Maher Sakkour, Senior Consultant at Stroke Neurology at HGH.

The consulting neurologist at the HGH will be able to talk to the patient about what symptoms the patient experienced, evaluate the patient’s motor skills, view a computed tomography (CT) scan, make a diagnosis before prescribing treatment. “The telestroke technology enables direct evaluation of stroke patients admitted at Al Khor or Al Wakra Emergency Department. It allows real time examination of the CT scan imagery by HMC’s expert stroke team based at HGH’s Stroke Ward in Doha, facilitating immediate treatment with live saving therapies,” Dr Saqqur told media persons during a press conference, yesterday.

Telestroke service, a collaborative initiative by teams across HMC, has led to the implementation of the system that will improve care for stroke patients. “At least 1,600 patients are treated for stroke at HMC hospitals. In Qatar the younger population is more prone to stroke unlike in other parts of the world,” said Dr Saqqur. Uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, smoking and obesity are major risk factors for developing a stroke. 

Time is very important when treating strokes. A victim who is treated within few hours of a stroke has a significantly lower risk of permanent brain damage or death than one who waits for treatment. Speed of thrombolysis treatment is the key and it must be given within four and a half hours of the onset of symptoms. “Fast care is very important for patients with acute stroke. With telestroke services patients will be given initial treatments like thrombolysis, a clot breaking drug, to open the artery and renew blood flow to the brain, before getting transferred to the HGH,” said Dr Saqqur.

In 2014, HMC began an integrated stroke programme. And has made significant advances in its efforts to provide the very highest standards of care for stroke patients.

source: The Peninsula