Stroke is the top cause of long-term disability in Singapore.
Patients have to be treated with a clot-busting drug within four and a half hours of experiencing symptoms of ischaemic strokes, which account for 85-90 per cent of all strokes. The drug opens blocked blood vessels and restores blood flow to the brain, to limit damage done to the brain from the lack of oxygen.
A mechanical thrombectomy, an interventional treatment that has a window of six to eight hours, is used to remove clots that block large blood vessels, if applicable.
Associate Professor Vijay Kumar Sharma from NUS Medicine’s Department of Medicine, who is also a senior consultant at the neurology division of the National University Hospital (NUH) said that in the past decade, just under 20 per cent of stroke patients were able to be treated with the clot-busting drug at NUH. Of the patients who get put on the drug, nearly 60 per cent are able to return to independent life.
"People need to know that the treatments are very effective if they get treated within the 4.5-hour window. We reduce their risk of dying from the stroke significantly and we give them the best chance of living an independent life," said Prof Vijay.