Better survival rate for stroke patients with more interventional radiologists
KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Society of Interventional Radiology (MYSIR) is training interventional radiologists to treat stroke patients to give them a second lease in life.
Its president, Dr Jeyaledchumy Mahadevan, said the training takes three years and costs about RM100,000 per person, depending on where the interventional radiologist opt to do the final year of training.
“We train our interventional radiologists to treat stroke because we do not have enough neuro-interventionalist. They do two years and one year overseas.
“What we are doing is converting our interventional radiologists to do stroke as it is a cheaper option and this is for our immediate need,” she said.
Speaking to reporters at the 13th Asian Australasian Federation of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology (AAFITN) 2018 Conference here yesterday, Dr Jeyaledchumy, who is also the organising chairman, said that the number of stroke cases in the country, especially among the younger generation, is getting high.
Among the contributing factors are stress and an unhealthy lifestyle, she said, adding that stroke contributes to 15,000 deaths recorded in the country annually.
However, with medical advancement, stroke patients, if treated early, has a better chance of recovering, she said.
“Currently, if someone suffers a stroke and they can get to the hospital within six hours, we start the procedure where we remove the clot. Once it is removed and circulation is established, two out of three patients can be fully independent and that brings down the cost of looking after stroke patients.
“With this, people can go back to be active and help the economy of Malaysia. Those suffering stroke are those who are young, in their 40s and 50s and can still contribute to the development of the country and to society,” she said.
MYSIR, according to Dr Jeyaledchumy, is training their interventional radiologists in Malaysia and hopes to be able to place them in every part of the country in the next five years.
She pointed out that stroke has been aggressively addressed in the last five years, and it is their hope in the next five years to be able to provide services for stroke in every part of the country.
“Once the funding is in place in the government hospitals, this service can be made available. We have 49 interventional radiologists in the country, 14 are doing neuro-intervention.
“We are now moving towards training the rest of the interventional radiologists to do stroke. Stroke has to be treated quickly, so with the trained interventional radiologists, they can be attended to quickly, within one hour of getting to the hospital is good.
“The faster you treat, the better the outcome. time is of the essence,” she said, adding that there is no such specialist in Sabah yet but here, MYSIR has a trainee who is in his second year and keen to come back to the state.
The government, she said, is looking forward to training more doctors in this field.
“We started with only four doctors in the country and over the period of 10 years we have 49. MYSIR has set forward a guideline called Malaysian Board of Interventional Radiology, and we are going ahead aggressively to train people who are good to do it, it is not for just anyone as the brain vessels are very delicate.
“The board will certify these doctors. Radiologists have been doing this for a very long time. so we train them very aggressively because science and technology is moving forward so we have to keep up and train them accordingly.
“We hope to reach a good number in five years, by then, we should be able to meet the target required. This meeting is how to progress stroke, the faster we train them, the faster we can get the services set up. We start with the main hospitals and move to the smaller hospitals,” she said.
She added: “We are currently focusing on the main hospitals, but we want to be able to give this service to everybody. 40,000 Malaysians suffer stroke every year, so we can aim to save about 20 percent of the number.
The ceremony was officiated by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
Masidi officiating at the launching ceremony yesterday. At third right is Dr Jeyaledchumy.