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Advancing Care for PMH Stroke Patients

More than 300,000 Canadians are living with disabilities or impairments because of stroke. In Manitoba, approximately seven people a day will suffer a stroke. A program that provides specialized emergency care in rural communities to stroke patients is expanding. The Dauphin Regional Health Centre (DRHC) part of the Prairie Mountain Health region is enhancing its care for stroke patients early in the new year. Patients who are presenting with stroke symptoms in the Parkland area will not be taken to their local hospital; instead they will be going straight to DRHC for advanced treatment options.

When a person dials 911 and reports stroke symptoms to the dispatcher, Prairie Mountain Health Paramedics are trained to initiate a "by-pass protocol" and will transport those patients to the Dauphin Regional Health Centre that will be able to offer what Manitoba Health calls "hyper-acute stroke services," says Brie DeMone, the executive director of acute services for Manitoba Healthy Living and Seniors.

These services include the potential administration of tPA (or tissue plasminogen activator), known as the "clot-busting" drug. A stroke can be caused by a blood clot or a hemorrhage that cuts off blood flow to the brain. The Telestroke program allows emergency physicians in DRHC to work with stroke neurologists and radiologists 24 hours per day through videoconferencing. The CT scan results will be sent digitally to the radiologist and neurologist on call at which time these specialists can work with the DRHC physician via Telestroke to determine if a stroke has occurred, the type of stroke and the most appropriate treatment options. Time is everything when treating strokes; when a blood clot is present, a patient treated with tPA within four and a half hours of the start of symptoms may experience partial or complete recovery.

Prairie Mountain Health will have two hospitals within the region offering this advanced treatment care. The Brandon Regional Health Centre implemented a stroke bypass protocol in 2009. Patients from the former Assiniboine region that met the indications for a potential stroke were transported directly to the Brandon emergency room for diagnosis and treatment. Parkland residents will now be offered this advancement in technology. Patients will not be charged any additional kilometre fee they will only be responsible for the base rate ambulance fee. “Having Telestroke available will help save lives,” said Debbie Brown, CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation in Manitoba. “Helping people to understand the urgency of taking rapid action for early recognition and management of stroke, as well as putting into place improved systems for treatment and support will decrease rates of disability and death from stroke.”

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada and a leading cause of disability. There are an estimated 62,000 strokes in Canada each year. That is one stroke every nine minutes. It is important for Canadians to learn the signs of stroke and know what to do.

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If you or someone with you experiences any of these signs, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.

Stroke is a medical emergency. Acting quickly can improve your chances of survival and recovery.

Don‘t drive yourself or the person having a stroke to the hospital – an ambulance will get you to the best hospital for stroke care. Not all hospitals have the capacity to administer clot busting drugs, which can stop or reverse the effects of stroke. The emergency medical services will be able to determine which hospital in your area can best help.

Treatments can reduce the severity of a stroke and reverse some of its effects, but only if they are given as quickly as possible.

Everyone needs to know the signs of stroke.

You never know when you, a parent, a spouse or a friend, might experience the signs of stroke and it will be up to you to act. There are still too many Canadians who don’t recognize the signs, nor know what to do when they see them.

Share the signs of stroke and help save lives.

Stroke facts

  • A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function.
  • 62,000 strokes occur in Canada each year – that is one stroke every nine minutes.
  • 83 per cent of those who have a stroke and make it to hospital now survive.
  • Brain cells die at a rate of 1.9 million per minute after stroke.
  • Each year, more than 13,000 Canadians die from stroke.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are living with the effects of stroke.
  • Stroke can happen at any age. Stroke among people under 65 is increasing and stroke risk factors are increasing for young adults.
  • Half of Canadians report having a close friend or family member who survived a stroke.
  • For more information visit
  • Information provided by the Heart and Stroke Foundation




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