Of the 12,000 people from UAE who suffer from stroke annually, ony 30 per cent patients actually reach hospital on time to begin right tretment that can reverse the symptoms, said Dr Suhail Al Rukn Neurology consultant and stroke specialist at Rashid Hospital.

Dr Al Rukn was speaking at the META Stroke Academy, annual international event held in Dubai last week to focus on stroke management updates across the region. “In the UAE, we have six dedicated stroke units across hospitals. This has been exemplified in the collaborative efforts conducted with the government to leverage best stroke care practices, and ultimately save lives,” added Dr Al Rukn.

“To address this, the medical community focuses on making the right choice for patients when it comes to stroke prevention through the use of oral anti-coagulants which are used to treat atrial fibrillation. Studies have shown that anticoagulation can result in a 64 per cent reduction in strokes. Rapid diagnosis in a dedicated stroke centre can quickly determine the stroke and immediate medical treatment, in less than 60 minutes, known as the Golden Hour reduces the chances of further complications. It is worth mentioning that within two years, Rashid Hospital has succeeded to reduce the door-to-needle time frame from 95 minutes to 35 minutes,” noted Dr. Al Rukn.

Mohamed Tawil, Head of Human Pharmaceuticals, Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) also said, “Strokes steal lives. From the moment it strikes, stroke becomes a life changing experience, and coping with it can be both physically and emotionally devastating for the patient as well as for their families. Many patients feel isolated due to the loss of their independence during the recovery stage. Our collaborations across the region ensure that we make every second count for patients.:

As one of the biggest causes of death and severe disability in the region, the epidemiology of stroke is changing rapidly, and the global stroke burden continues to increase worldwide. The younger population of the region indicates that the stroke will increasingly become a burden in the coming years.

In the UAE, an MoU was signed between Boehringer Ingelheim and the MOHAP which aimed to reduce stroke mortality by 20% in the coming three years. In addition, the collaboration resulted in the MOHAP assigning three stroke centers to support three zones including Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Moreover, a drip and ship protocol was established in designated hospitals without PCI.

The event was organised by the international pharmaceutical group Boehringer Ingleheim.

What is stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of one’s brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. Risk factors for stroke that can be changed, treated or medically managed include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise as well as abnormal heart rhythm.