HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION REPORT REVEALS CANADIANS DON’T GET THE 9-1-1 ON STROKE
Ottawa, June 12, 2008: At least half of Canadians do not treat stroke as a medical emergency, warns the Heart and Stroke Foundation Report on Stroke. In a national poll of adults, the Heart and Stroke Foundation found that less than half would call 9-1-1 if they or someone they know experienced warning signs of stroke.
“With stroke, every minute counts,” says Dr. Sandra Black, Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson. “Time is brain. Each minute delay in calling 9-1-1 increases the odds of permanent brain damage, disability or death.”
There is a treatment for the most common form of stroke − strokes caused by a blood clot in the arteries feeding the brain, referred to ischemic stroke − but it must be administered within three hours of the onset of warning signs.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, there are over 50,000 diagnosed strokes in Canada each year. Of every 100 people who have a stroke:
Heart and Stroke Foundation Survey
HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION 9-1-1 RISK ASSESSMENT
(% of Canadians who would call 9-1-1 or local EMS if they or someone they knew experienced a stroke warning sign); *Results for Canada can be considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percent, 19 times out of 20
Serious risk: 50-59%; Severe risk: 40-49% ; Critical risk: <40
“It is shocking that only half of Canadians would call 9-1-1 if they or someone they know experienced the warning signs of stroke,” says Stephen Samis, director of health policy for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “But what is even more disturbing is the variation in results across the country.
“Canadians need equal access to the best stroke care, no matter where they live,” says Samis. “Coordinated stroke strategies can make a key difference. At the same time, these results also tell us that we still have a long way to go in ensuring equitable access to quality stroke care across Canada.”
Public awareness campaigns on recognizing and reacting to stroke warning signs are an important component of stroke strategies. But increased awareness is only the first step to improving the odds for stroke survivors. Key to surviving a stroke is having access to coordinated stroke strategies able to provide timely and specialized stroke care to patients.
Currently, only three provinces– Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta – have sustained, integrated, coordinated stroke strategies that are funded by their provincial governments.
The Canadian Stroke Strategy
By organizing stroke care through an integrated stroke strategy, we can improve the treatment of stroke – from early identification of warning signs through to immediate diagnosis, targeted treatment, and rehabilitation – and dramatically reduce the impact of stroke, notes Brown.
Widespread access to organized stroke care could prevent more than 160,000 strokes, prevent disability in 60,000 Canadians, and save $8 billion net in health-care costs over the next 20 years in
Significant progress is being made across the country in implementing organized stroke care. But if individuals experiencing stroke don’t know they are having a stroke and don’t get to the hospital in a timely fashion, the benefits of organized care won’t be realized. To improve access to organized stroke care the Heart and Stroke Foundation has the following recommendations:
Heart and Stroke Foundation recommendations
To pre-hospital and emergency medical service systems:
To regional health authorities and hospitals
To research funding bodies and universities:
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, stroke is the third leading cause of mortality in
The Heart and Stroke Foundation (www.heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.
Posted June 12, 2008.