2 December 2011
FEWER than one in 10 Australians who could benefit from life-saving drug treatment after a stroke actually receive it.
An audit of medical records relating to more than 3500 stroke sufferers last year found only 58 per cent of patients were admitted to a specialised stroke unit on the day they arrived at hospital, despite the clear evidence that prompt treatment can make the difference between severe and mild lifelong disability, as well as between life and death.
Of the 2624 patients with so-called ischaemic stroke, which is caused by a blood vessel in the brain blocking, as opposed to bursting, only 7 per cent received the clot-busting drugs proven to dramatically improve outcomes.
But the National Stroke Foundation’s Clinical Audit Report 2011, launched yesterday, shows only 20 per cent of patients got the life-saving drugs, even when they arrived at hospital within time.