Life is precious — Awareness means life

I have just completed my MBBS internship and had the honour to be invited to a National Seminar held on Hemorrhagic and Ischemic stroke on the campus of Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences (SMIMS) in Gangtok, Sikkim by the chief organizer of the event – Dr. Gorkhi Medhi, MD, DM, Interventional Radiology and Neuroimaging, Assistant Professor Radiology, SMIMS on April 13, 2018. I was very excited about this event since it was my first seminar that I would be attending as a delegate. I went to the Seminar, scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. As I approached the seminar hall there was a reception counter where my college juniors handed me a seminar kit and a badge. The kit was quite fancy with a lot of materials including a booklet to assess the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and other conditions.

The seminar started  with lighting of the ceremonial lamps and Saraswati Vandana.

Dr. Sharath K.G.G., MD, DM, Consultant Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiologist, Apollo Hospitals mentioned about the basics of stroke in his introductory speech.

A stroke is a condition of short supply of blood to a part of brain, which could be due to hemorrhage or blockage.

At about 10:00 a.m. we had a 15-minute tea-break. After the tea-break, the speakers started deliberating on how the stroke happens in many people with different reasons and with unpredictable signs and symptoms based on their experiences with their patients.

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After the lunch, which was quite sumptuous, the seminar resumed with latest advancement the Specialists have made in managing their patients according to merit of their respective cases. Traditionally, such cases were managed by neurosurgeons by opening the skull — craniotomy. Since nineties, interventional radiologists have developed an innovative method by puncturing a single hole in a deep vein (most preferably – Femoral) a.k.a. catheterization and completing the entire procedure guided by Computerised Tomography (CT) inside a catheterization laboratory or cath lab. The new procedure is faster, less pain-inflicting, cost-effective and with quicker recovery time.

The seminar ended with discussions on lack of knowledge about the stroke among the population and therefore it’s quite important to create a general awareness  among the patients and their kith and kin so that the patients could be diagnosed and treated in time with least or no irreversible damage.

Patients who arrive at the emergency room within 3 hours of their first symptoms often have less disability 3 months after a stroke than those who received delayed care.

There is an effective way that non-medical associated people should follow for any High risk patients (as listed below) — commonly called: F.A.S.T. The FAST was developed in the UK in 1998 by a group of stroke physicians, ambulance personnel, and an emergency room physician.

  • Face – To check for any drooping of face
  • Arms – To check for any weakness in arms
  • Speech– To check for any slurring of speech
  • Time – If any/all symptoms are present in the patient then its time to call emergency

High risk patients: Patients with

  • Old age
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol
  • Long-standing unattended Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • History of Embolism
  • History of Loss of consciousness
  • History of previous occurrences
  • History of atherosclerosis

Regardless of your age or family history, a stroke doesn’t have to be inevitable. Stroke is a medical emergency. Let’s spread the message: Think FAST. Act Fast.

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