One in nine get stroke drug

ALMOST one hundred stroke victims were admitted to emergency departments in the Western Trust, which covers areas such as Londonderry and Limavady, since the start of 2012.

The Health Minister provided figures detailing the number of ‘emergency admissions’ in the past year in response to questioning from TUV MLA Jim Allister.

The Minister also provided a breakdown of the number of people who had recieved the drug thrombolysis as part of their treatment. In the Western Trust around one in nine recieved the drug, and across Northern Ireland the figure stands at 51 recieving the drug out of a total 619 emergency admissions diagnosed with stroke.

Thrombolysis is a drug which is widely used throughout the UK to treat stroke victims, but a document entitled ‘improving stroke services in Northern Ireland’, dated 2007, points out that the drug is “only available to a small percentage of stroke patients in Northern Ireland despite the evidence that it can significantly reduce the incidence of death and serious disability.” However, advice on the NHS Choices website notes “not all patients are suitable for thrombolysis treatment.”

TUV MLA Jim Allister asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety “how many stroke patients have been admitted to each hospital since the start of 2012; and how many of these were treated with Thrombolysis.”

The Health Minister Edwin Poots replied: “Mr Poots: Information is not available on the number of stroke patients that have been admitted to each hospital since the start of 2012; or the number of these that were treated with Thrombolysis. Information is however available on the number of emergency admissions to each HSC Trust between January 1 and March 31, 2012 where a primary diagnosis of ischaemic stroke was recorded; and the number of times during this period that Thrombolysis was administered”