Audit Report Reveals Stroke Leading Cause Of Acquired Disability

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Stroke is the leading cause of acquired disability and the 3rd leading cause of death in Ireland The detail is revealed in the National Audit of Stroke Report for 2020.

There are approximately 6000 strokes admitted to Irish hospitals per year – this report analysed data on 5,153 stroke patients. While stroke is looked upon as a disease of the older person, over a quarter of the cases were aged under 65 years. 57% of all cases were male.

Early arrival at the hospital for urgent treatment means less damage is likely to happen.  Only 50% of patients arrived at hospital within 3 hours of onset of stroke symptoms.  The median time to contact with a doctor after arrival at hospital was 11 minutes, 6 minutes faster than in 2019. The median time from arrival at hospital to brain scan was 1 hour and 3 minutes, 17 minutes faster than in 2019.

The treatment on diagnosis can vary from medication to breakdown blood clots or a surgical procedure known as a thrombectomy – 8.6% of all ischaemic stroke patients had a thrombectomy.  The current thrombectomy rate in Europe is 1.9%.  71% of patients with a stroke were admitted to a stroke unit which is below the target of 90%.  71% of ischaemic stroke cases had disabilities on discharge. Mortality reduced from 12% in 2019 to 11% in 2020.   There was no substantial change in stroke activity between the pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods.

Well known Tipperary Town man Martin Quinn is a Public Representative on the INAS and is himself a stroke survivor. Mr Quinn suffered a stroke in 2013 while doing an interview on local radio. Mr Quinn supports the recommendation for a campaign to highlight the need to increase public awareness of the symptoms of stroke and the importance of seeking immediate emergency care.