Stroke is ranked as the second leading cause of death worldwide with an annual mortality rate of about 5.5 million. Not only does the burden of stroke lie in the high mortality, but the high morbidity also results in up to 50% of survivors being chronically disabled.

Every minute in which a large vessel ischemic stroke is untreated, the average patient loses 1.9 million neurons, 13.8 billion synapses, and 12km (7 miles) of axonal fibres. Each hour in which treatment fails to occur, the brain loses as many neurons as it does in almost 3.6 years of normal aging.

In this day and age, stroke is a treatable emergency. For patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke, and for the physicians and allied health personnel treating them, every second counts.  That is why ‘Time is Brain’ is an important driver for the Mediclinic Middle East stroke programme in Dubai.

The Mediclinic Stroke Service sees Mediclinic hospitals in Dubai offering 24-hour, seven day a week emergency services, with state of the art infrastructures, a neuro-endovascular suite, and intensive care units staffed with experienced healthcare providers trained on stroke response and treatment.

Dr. Pietie Loubser, Chief Clinical Officer at Mediclinic Middle East, says, “Quality of care for our patients is our top priority and it is for this reason that Mediclinic Middle East created a time conscious Stroke programme which is a close collaboration between Mediclinic City Hospital, Mediclinic Parkview Hospital and Mediclinic Welcare Hospital in DUbai.  The service follows the very latest treatment protocols as per international guidelines and recommendations and, with the cooperation of Dubai Corporation of Ambulance Services, this model allows us to provide accelerated and high quality care to patients across Dubai and neighbouring Sharjah.”

The availability 24/7 of neuro-interventional care at Mediclinic City Hospital allows timely revascularisation treatment for this time sensitive medical emergency for the most complex cases.  The faster the blockage of the blood vessel is resolved, the better the chance of recovery without disability.

Management of stroke patients does not stop here, in fact, the care after the acute phase is as important as the emergency care and restoring the blood flow.  This “after care” is provided by a multi-disciplinary inpatient care team, where the neurologist works closely with the cardiologist and internal medicine specialist to identify the cause of the stroke, so they can take the accurate approach to prevent future strokes.  At Mediclinic Middle East huge emphasis is put on initiating early rehabilitation services with speech therapy, physical and occupational therapy to maximise the chances of functional independence.

On the occasion of World Stroke day that is celebrated on 29th October, we urge people to familiarise themselves with the signs of Stroke  - F.A.S.T. is one of the well-known ways of remembering how to recognise the symptoms of stroke.

The first letter of F.A.S.T stands for face. If someone’s face has dropped on one side or they are unable to smile, this could be a sign of a stroke. The letter ‘A’ stands for arms.  If a person suffers a stroke, they may be unable to raise or hold both arms up as one may drop. The letter ‘S’ represents speech.  Stroke victims may slur their speech or suffer from difficulties in having conversations. The final letter ‘T’ stands for time, reinforcing the importance of responding quickly and calling 998/999 immediately for an ambulance. And remember Time is Brain.