Clot busting drug helps stroke patients

Thomas and Isabel Greenwood. Thomas received a clot buting drugs after sufferinga stroke
Thomas and Isabel Greenwood. Thomas received a clot buting drugs after sufferinga stroke
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A Yorkshire hospital has made a life-saving clot busting drug available to stroke patients around the clock in a bid to reduce the disabling impact of a stroke. Catherine Scott reports

The devastating side effects of a stroke can chance a person’s life forever.

Now, clot busting drug Alteplase, is helping reduce these side-affects.

However, to be effective the drug has to be administered via a intravenous drip within four and a half hours of a stroke.

Until recently patients in parts of Yorkshire struggled to get the drug 24 hours a day, but now hospitals including Calderdale Royal Hospital are making it available to patients in Yorkshire around the clock.

One patient to benefit from the drug is retired finance company director, Thomas Greenwood, 78, from Cragg Vale, Calderdale,.

Thomas was sitting in a chair at home when his wife Isabel notice his speech suddenly went and the right side of his face started to droop.

Isabel, had been talking to him and he wasn’t replying. When she looked across at him she saw his mouth was drooping and she immediately recognised signs of a stroke and called for an ambulance.

“I knew straight away what was happening thanks those TV adverts and didn’t delay,” explains Isabel.

“He didn’t reply to my question and when I looked over I could see his mouth drooping and I just knew what to do and dialled 999. Luckily, I didn’t delay and that makes all the difference and when we got to hospital the staff were wonderful.”

A responder arrived in 10 minutes, an ambulance in 15 minutes and, within an hour, Mr Greenwood was at Calderdale Royal Hospital where a specialist team including a specialist stroke nurse and stroke physician was expecting him upon arrival.

A FAST test was positive and a CT scan was done within 20 minutes of arrival at A&E. He received the clot busting treatment immediately after the CT scan and was admitted to the acute stroke unit where he made a full recovery from his speech problem and facial droop.

He was discharged after a four-day stay with minimal effects of stroke.

“From the moment we called 999 and throughout all the hospital stay we received and continue to receive high quality care from the Stroke Team,” said Thomas.

“I have nothing but praise for all the staff. They are tremendous.”

The ‘clot busting’ drug which can reduce the disability effects of stroke is now available for patients in Calderdale and Huddersfield at all times of the day and night.

The new treatment, which has to be completed via a drip within three hours for patients over 80 and within 4.5 hours for the under 80s is available 24-hours a day at Calderdale Royal Hospital from a specialist stroke team.

Consultant Stroke Physician, Dr Pratap Rana, said: “For the drug to work it is crucial patients are brought to the hospital quickly.

“Hence, it is important for the public to identify the signs of stroke immediately and ask for an emergency ambulance as soon as possible.

“If patients come to us within the three hours of onset of symptoms and the clot busting drug given, it can make all the difference to their lives and to the impact of stroke.”

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Like all the organs, the brain needs oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly.

If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells will die. This leads to irreversible brain damage and possibly death.

Every year there are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK. That’s one stroke every five minutes. Most people affected are over 65, but anyone can have a stroke, including children and even babies.

To remember the symptoms of a stroke, remember FAST test

F – has their face fallen?

A – can they raise their arms?

S – is their speech slurred?

T – time to call 999.