Madurai Mayor launches Meenakshi Mission Hospital’s Stroke Helpline

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Honourable Mayor of Madurai, Ms. V. Indirani Ponvasanth, has launched Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre’s dedicated helpline (0452-2581212) for rapid management of brain stroke here today. The launch coincides with the World Stroke Day 2023, which falls on October 29, 2023.

When a call is made to the helpline, the hospital deploys a hightech, lifesaving ambulance to the patient’s location. The patient gets first aid with respect to controlling blood pressure, and blood sugar by trained paramedical and emergency care staff, as part of its Pre-hospital emergency medicine (PHEM)-care during ambulance transit. The patients are triaged based on the severity of the stroke conditions, while a team of specialists from neurology, interventional neurology, and radiology attend to the patients.

The patients do not have to make any upfront payments for CT or MRI scans that are done to diagnose, determine the type of stroke, and assess the damage to the brain. Depending on the severity and cause of the stroke, and in consultation with the patients or their families, the treatment options are decided. It could involve medicines, thrombolysis (Medical dissolution of blood clots using clot-busting drugs) or thrombectomy, which refers to the surgical removal of blood clots from blood vessels to restore circulation.

In her comments, Madurai Mayor Indirani Ponvasanth said, “I am very happy to launch the stroke helpline of a reputed hospital like Meenakshi Mission. I am sure it will be a boon for people of the entire Madurai district. Stroke has emerged as among the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. But studies say that up to 90% of strokes are preventable if we can avoid a small number of risk factors such as uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes, smoking, alcohol consumption, and stress. Even when someone gets a stroke, timely treatment can save their lives. It is extremely important that the patient reaches the hospital within the golden period of 4.5 hours. Fortunately, Madurai has many good tertiary care hospitals and expert medical professionals. Our Chief Minister's Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme covers all lifesaving treatments, including the treatments for stroke. We should strive to make Madurai a model for prevention and rapid management of stroke.”

Talking about the helpline, Dr. B. Kannan, Medical Administrator, Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre, said that the lifetime risk of developing stroke has increased by 50% over the last 17 years. Today, 1 in 4 people is estimated to have a stroke in their lifetime. Annually, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke. Of these, 5 million die and another 5 million are left permanently disabled, placing a burden on family and community. But we can bring down the rate of death and permanent disability, with medical intervention within the golden period of 4.5 hours. It is with this aim, we have launched the helpline and rapid response team for stroke.” 

Dr. Ramesh Ardhanari, Medical Director, Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre urged the public to call the stroke helpline, when a person suddenly develops any neurological issues, such as slurred speech, drooping smile, vision loss, numbness in legs and arms, inability to raise arms. “Time is brain, as millions of neurons are lost with every minute of stroke. Following an acute ischemic stroke and without treatment, about 4 million neurons, 12 million brain cells, and 15 billion synapses die every minute. The typical patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute in which stroke is untreated. So taking care each and every precious second is very important during stroke,” he pointed out. 

Dr. Narendra Nath Jena, HOD and Senior Consultant, Department of Emergency Medicine,  Dr. T.C. Vijay Anand, HOD and Senior Consultant, Department of Neurology, Dr. S. Narendiran, Consultant, Department of Neurology, Dr. K.Selvamuthukumaran, HOD and Senior Consultant, Department of  Neurosurgery, Dr. Senthil kumar, Senior Consultant Department of  Neurosurgery, Dr. K. Gowtham, Consultant, Department of  Neurosurgery, Dr. T.Mukuntharajan, HOD and Senior Consultant, Department of  Imaging Sciences and Interventional Radiology, Dr. N.Karunakaran, Senior Consultant, Department of  Imaging Sciences and Interventional Radiology, Dr. R.Ganesh, Senior Consultant, Department of Imaging Sciences and Interventional Radiology were also present at the press conference.

It is to be noted that the emergency stroke team of Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre is the only emergency team in India accredited (Diamond status Award) by World Stroke Organisation (2023). The hospital is also recognized as stroke ready center in South Tamil Nadu. The team includes emergency physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons, endovascular surgeons, radiologists, and interventional radiologists who work round the clock.

A stroke is a sudden brain injury caused by disrupted blood flow. There are two types of stroke: one is ischemic and another is hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage or clot that obstructs blood flow to the brain. It's the most common type of stroke. The hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures or leaks, leading to bleeding within or around the brain. It is less common but often more severe than an ischemic stroke.

About 90% of strokes are associated with 10 risk factors of: hypertension, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), diabetes, stress & depression, high alcohol intake, wrong diet, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and lack of exercise. The main treatments for stroke include administering clot-busting drugs, thrombolysis, a minimally invasive procedure to break up blood clots and prevent new clots from forming, and thrombectomy, a surgery to remove a blood clot from a blood vessel (artery or vein).

One in eight strokes will kill a survivor within the first 30 days and 25 percent within the first year. However, with the right amount of rehabilitation, a person's speech, cognitive, motor and sensory skills can steadily be recovered. Although just 10% of people almost fully recover from a stroke, 25% have only minor impairments and 40% have moderate impairments that are manageable with some special care.

World Stroke Day is observed on October 29, every year. The theme for the current World Stroke Day is #GreaterThan stroke. The theme emphasises the need to get everyone involved to raise awareness and drive action on stroke prevention, and “show that together we can be #GreaterThan stroke.”


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