Thrombolysis available at QEH to treat stroke
KOTA KINABALU: Stroke is one of the top non-contagious diseases (NCD) that contribute to 73 per cent of mortality in Malaysia, after heart attack.
An estimated 35 per cent of deaths occur among those below the age of 60 and who are still working, said Sabah State Health Department director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi.
“This means that Malaysia has a ‘sick’ and ‘at risk’ population of contracting NCD. What is more worrisome is that a large number of Malaysians also do not know they have undiagnosed NCD risk factors, which result in late diagnosis that come with complications,” she said at a public forum on stroke organised by the United Sabah Chinese Communities Association of Kota Kinabalu (USCCAKK) in collaboration with Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), yesterday.
Her speech was delivered by QEH director Dr William Gotulis.
She added that a new form of treatment known as thrombolysis has been available at QEH since February this year, which helps prevent stroke from escalating and dissolves blood clots in the brain.
However, the treatment is only suitable for patients that meet strict criteria, she said, emphasising the importance of early detection.
“Thrombolysis can only be given to patients who, among other factors, are diagnosed within the first 4.5 hours of the stroke occurring. It also cannot be administered to treat haemorrhagic stroke.
“That’s why it’s very important to seek immediate medical attention so that doctors would be able to assess whether or not thrombolysis is an option,” she said.
According to Rundi, thrombolysis is currently available at QEH II, Duchess of Kent Hospital, Sandakan, Tawau Hospital, Lahad Datu Hospital and Keningau Hospital.
Meanwhile, Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Datuk Stephen Wong encouraged the public at large to take charge of their health so as to avoid stroke altogether.
“Share the information you obtained from this forum with family and friends to spread awareness on stroke.
“Conduct regular health checks to ensure your health is always at its best. Exercising regularly is also important, as well as a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle,” he said. He was represented by Assistant Minister Norazlinah Arif.
USCCAKK president Datuk Susan Wong said increasingly young people have been stricken by stroke over the years due to poor diet and unhealthy habits in modern lifestyle, hence the forum will help spread awareness.
“The World Stroke Organisation has set October 29 as World Stroke Day every year to promote public awareness of stroke. Today, we are happy to have our fellow speakers to share with us their extensive medical knowledge on stroke,” she said.
The forum featured three topics, which were stroke overview and stroke management and prevention by HQE senior consultant neurologist Dr Chia Yuen Khang, stroke rehabilitation by HQE rehab physician Dr Jammie Joseph and background, as well as rules and services offered by National Stroke Association of Malaysia by NASAM Sabah chairperson Jasminah Ali.
Dr William (third right), Norazlinah (centre) and Susan (fifth left) with invited guests and speakers at the public forum on stroke yesterday.