Stroke diagnosis: every minute counts

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Stroke diagnosis: every minute counts.
(09/17/2010) Over 60,000 people die each year in Germany from the consequences of a stroke (apoplexy). Many of them could be helped with timely diagnosis. For this reason, the State of Hesse, for example, is currently supporting the establishment of a neurological acute clinic including a stroke unit in Rotenburg an der Fulda with 2.5 million euros. Rotenburg.

As part of the handover of the approval decision earlier this week, Petra Müller-Klepper, State Secretary in the Hessian Ministry of Social Affairs, explained once again how important it is to clarify the topic of stroke from the perspective of the State of Hesse. "With this donation, the state government is supporting the clinic in organizing its new care assignment in the field of neurology. This is an important part of securing the future for the establishment and improving the range of services for patients, ”emphasized Müller-Klepper.

The HKZ is currently listed with 196 beds (formerly 42 beds) as an integrated medical center for diagnostics, therapy and rehabilitation in the hospital plan of the State of Hesse. The treatment areas include internal medicine (cardiology), cardiac surgery and neurology.

"The award of the supply contract is a clear signal from the state government," said Müller-Klepper. The new acute neurological clinic will include two new wards, the first of which started work in early August and the second beginning of operation in early November. The stroke unit will be available around the clock for stroke victims from January 2011, with attached neurological monitoring beds and beds for the rehabilitation of seriously ill neurological patients. The aim of the Stroke Unit is to strengthen the location and the supply network explicitly for stroke patients. The Heart and Circulatory Center (HKZ), for its part, is also investing EUR 700,000 in the approximately EUR 3.2 million facility for the new 21-bed acute neurology facility.

On the occasion of the handover of the approval notice, the district administrator Dr. Karl-Ernst Schmidt that the need for acute treatment and rehab for stroke patients will grow massively in the future. By 2050, a 70 percent increase in strokes is expected. Already today, more than 200,000 Germans suffer a stroke annually, with more than 60,000 not surviving, making the apoplexy the third leading cause of death in Germany.

The cause of a stroke is the sudden lack of oxygen and other substances in the brain's nerve cells, which occurs as a result of reduced blood flow to the corresponding brain regions. The symptoms can vary widely depending on the severity of the seizure, making diagnosis difficult. Examples of signs of a stroke are: visual disturbances in one or both eyes, loss of visual field, double vision, balance or coordination disorder (ataxia), numbness, paralysis or weakness in the face, arm, leg, or even one half of the body, confusion, speech - and writing disorders, apparently groundless very severe headache, swallowing disorders (dysphagia), orientation disorders, etc. A timely diagnosis is vital to survival for those affected, because in a large number of cases the patient can be lysed (dissolution of the blood clot) by intravenous or intra-arterial Administration of special medicines can be helped. However, treatment must be started no later than four and a half hours after the stroke so that it has a chance of success and can protect the patient's brain from permanent damage, according to the statement of the head of neurology at the HZK, Dr. Andreas Nachtmann.

According to the medical experts, primary care in a hospital with a stroke unit should always be preferred, as this is where rapid and optimal diagnostics take place and the health of the patient is continuously monitored by specially trained staff. All basic parameters of blood pressure, pulse, temperature and breathing are continuously checked. There is also close cooperation between the various medical disciplines and rehabilitation measures are started at an early stage. With the establishment of the stroke unit in the HZK in Rotenburg, an attempt is being made to meet the demands for appropriate treatment from the state side as well. (fp)

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Photo credit: Martin Büdenbender /

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Video: Community Medical School: Every Minute Counts When Time = Brain


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