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KATH makes breakthrough in stroke treatment

The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi has launched thrombolysis service, a medical procedure that restores paralysed stroke patients to normalcy.

The introduction of the service is seen as a major breakthrough in the treatment of stroke.

Thrombolysis uses medications or a minimally invasive procedure to break up blood clots and prevent new clots from forming in the brain.

Patients who are brought in on time and are eligible for the thrombolysis service could be treated and saved from conditions such as speech difficulties, weakness in arms and legs as well as loss of balance.

Stroke is said to be the leading cause of death at the medical block at KATH, a reason that makes the incorporation of thrombolysis into routine stroke care at the facility a key intervention to save lives.

Professor Fred Stephen Sarfo, a Neurologist at KATH, who is leading the implementation of the thrombolysis service, believes the management of stroke in Ghana looks promising with the

introduction of thrombolysis
and the training of various medical professionals in that field.

Throwing more light on thrombolysis at the launch of the service, Prof. Sarfo said, ‘When someone suffers a stroke, essentially what happens is that there is a blood clot sitting in a vessel taking blood to the brain.

So the reason why the person cannot talk or has paralysis is because a part of the brain is not working because it is not receiving blood so that blood clot that is preventing the blood from getting to that part of the brain is what we seek to dissolve to restore blood flow to the brain,’ he explained.

He further expounded that once blood was restored to the brain the patient would be able to talk and the paralysis would disappear, thereby curing the patient completely unlike in the past when there was no proper cure for stroke.

Prof. Sarfo spoke about the essence of time in administering the thrombolysis service on patients, saying that patients must be brought to the facility within an hour or two, to commence the process.

If the person comes late, we will still assess the person and treat him or her, but we will not give the person thrombolysis because the thrombolysis is time bound,’ he added

According to him, if a patient is given the thrombolysis treatment after four and half hours, it could rather harm the patient because it could cause the patient to bleed into the brain.

He underlined the need to prioritise risk factor screening, prevention and treatment, adding that, hypertension which was a major risk factor was common with about 40 per cent of Ghanaian adults without their knowledge.

Prof. Otchere Addai-Mensah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KATH, said the commencement of thrombolysis service at the facility was a significant milestone in the treatment and management of stroke cases in the middle and northern part of the country.

He said as one of the leading causes of admissions and deaths at the KATH and the country as a whole, it was refreshing to witness the historic launch of the stroke thrombolysis service
which was expected to save many lives

The CEO urged other peripheral hospitals and the public to act with speed in getting stroke patients to KATH for the live-saving service.

Source: Ghana News Agency