SINGAPORE: More patients are arriving at the hospital "early enough" for time-sensitive stroke treatments, the Ministry of Health's Stroke Services Improvement team revealed on Sunday (Oct 29).
The finding emerged from a study by the National Neuroscience Institute, whose results were revealed at the launch of the second annual Spot Stroke nationwide awareness campaign in conjunction with World Stroke Day.
According to the study, the proportion of patients arriving within the crucial three-and-a-half hours increased from 28 per cent before the first campaign in 2016 to 41 per cent. This has inproved the chances of survival for patients undergoing clot-busting treatment.
The study also found that the percentage of patients coming within seven hours increased from 42 per cent to 58 per cent, improving chances of eligibility for those who require endovascular therapy.
"If patients come in too late, there isn't anything we can do in the hyper acute period. These treatments are time-limited. Once they are outside the window, they are ineligible for these treatments," said Associate Professor Deidre Anne De Silva, senior consultant at the National Neuroscience Institute.
However, while they will not be administered the time-sensitive treatments, such patients will still receive stroke care.
Assoc Prof De Silva added that the treatments significantly reduce disability after stroke.
"These disabilities can be physical, cognitive. Obviously it doesn't affect just the patient, but also the family and society. If we are able to reduce these disabilities, the patient's life after stroke will be significantly improved," she said.
There are about 8,000 stroke cases in Singapore with the figure projected to rise with a rapidly ageing population, said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor at the campaign launch.
"The burden of stroke is substantial and has significant social and economic impact. More importantly, it has serious consequences on well-being: in Singapore, cerebrovascular diseases including stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and one of the leading causes of long-term physical disability," said Dr Khor.
She added: "While we would continue to deliver quality stroke care and rehabilitation, it is vital that we arm ourselves with the knowledge of what we can do when a stroke does happen so that we reduce complications and protect our health."
The Spot Stroke campaign is focused on helping more Singaporeans recognise the symptoms of stroke using the acronym FAST - which stands for Face drooping, Arm weakness and Speech difficulty, as well as Time to call 995 - as a checklist.
Also launched on Sunday was StrokeHub, an online portal aimed at increasing public awareness of the condition. The portal contains up-to-date materials for caregivers, healthcare workers and patients related to the prevention, recognition and treatment of stroke.
The resources will be available in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil from December.