The Sunday Leader

New Stroke Unit At Central Hospital

By Nadine Mariah

The Central Hospital in Colombo is initiating a 24-hour ‘hyper acute stroke unit’ for stroke victims.  This unit will employ the first ever Biplane Digital Subtraction Angiography Unit in Sri Lanka, radically revolutionising the calibre of medical treatment hospitals have offered in the country thus far.

Dr Manjula Karunaratne, Director of Medical services at the Asiri Group of Hospitals said it was a collective decision
“No other private hospital in the country offers such a service, not as comprehensive as the unit will offer anyway, it was a collective decision for the benefit of the country,” Karunaratne said
A paper published by the National Stroke Association of Sri Lanka stated that strokes were the third leading cause of death (following cancer and heart disease), accounting for around 5.5 million deaths annually. One in four stroke patients die, and of the surviving three, one third remain disabled. It was then stated that according to research, developing countries are burdened with three quarters of all stroke-related deaths worldwide. “This calls for initiative measures aimed at prevention (primary and secondary) and treatment of strokes for its complications” the report said, and it is this very initiative that the Central Hospital has taken.

There will also be an ambulance service and a telephone number for family members or friends of a stroke victim to contact in an emergency. They should expect the ambulance to arrive within 90 minutes of a phone call being made. The hospital has also stated that it will continue to develop stroke awareness initiatives for the public, and most importantly, to convey that failure to administer treatment within a timeframe of four hours would lead to life-long disabilities and paralysis.

“The main message we would like to get across is that if symptoms are spotted, and prevail, we must be contacted within four hours, for hope of recovery; within the first hour if possible to maximise treatment to reverse impact to the brain and prevent brain damage,” Dr Thurul Attygalle, a physician in the unit said

The innovative Biplane Digital Subtraction Angiography Unit, boasted thus far by Europe and America, is also now available for Sri Lankans, who would have otherwise had to travel overseas. The unit will offer rehabilitative aftercare services tailored to suit each patient. Led by a fiercely committed group of healthcare professionals and equipped with the best medical facilities in the country, patients will be in the most capable of hands.

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