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New Stroke Services Developed At Caithness General

30th March 2009

Caithness General Hospital in Wick has developed new services for Stroke patients in the north and is one of the first Rural General Hospital's in Scotland to be offering these treatments.

The first of these services, the Novel Rapid Access Neurovascular (TIA) service will start up at the hospital on Thursday 2nd April. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA - often known as mini stroke) patients will be seen within 24 hours and treated, not only will this save lives but it will also prevent further strokes.

Christian Goskirk, Stroke MCN Manager for NHS Highland, said: "Stroke is the third largest cause of death in Scotland and the biggest cause of adult disability. In NHS Highland's area 12 people have a new stroke every week. With the new neurovascular service in place patients will have a much better chance of recovery and reduce the risk of it happening to them again."

The Thrombolysis Service, which is a clot busting medication used on some types of stroke patients, will be introduced at Caithness General Hospital on the 4th May. Approx 80% of strokes are caused by a blockage of blood supply to part of the brain. Thrombolysis is the use of clot busting drugs to open up these blocked arteries. This can allow blood flow to be restored to brain cells and reduce the amount of damage done by the stroke. Patients who reach hospital within the time frame (up to a maximum of four and a half hours from the onset of the stroke happening) may be eligible this treatment.

Christian added: "Patients who arrive at hospital within the time frame after having their stroke will immediately be taken for a CT scan of the brain to assess their suitability for Thrombolysis treatment.

"New research and guidelines from SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network) shows that this treatment decreases disability after stroke meaning the patient has a better chance of making a fuller recovery.

"It is important to remember that if you think someone is having a stroke or may be experiencing a TIA you should think FAST. F - Facial weakness, can they smile or has their mouth or eye dropped? A - Arm weakness, can they raise both arms? S - Speech problems, can they speak clearly and do you understand them? And lastly T - time to call an ambulance."

Dr I H Malik, Consultant Physician based at Caithness General Hospital will be visiting all GP Practices in the Caithness and Sutherland area to tell them about these treatments.


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