Urgent need to improve access to quality acute stroke management in India: Experts

07:10 PM Aug 22, 2023 | PTI |

New Delhi: There is an urgent need to enhance access to quality acute stroke management in India due to the escalating burden of non-communicable diseases and the significant rise in brain stroke incidences in the country, experts said on Tuesday.


The country has seen nearly 100 per cent increase in brain stroke cases from 1996 to 2019.

In the realm of stroke care, the adage ‘time is brain’ holds profound significance, said Dr Girdhar GYANI, Director General, AHPI-Association of Healthcare Providers (India). Swift recognition of stroke symptoms and prompt intervention are paramount in preserving brain function and averting dire consequences, he said.

”The urgency of immediate action cannot be overstated as timely treatment not only offers the potential to salvage vital neural cells, but also holds the promise of mitigating and even reversing damage. The gravity of strokes, which can prove fatal or lead to debilitating paralysis/life-long disability, underscores the imperative of early intervention,” he said.

As India grapples with an escalating burden of stroke cases, seamless access to comprehensive stroke care emerges as a pivotal requirement, according to Gyani. “We need to have sustained campaign among community to identify symptoms and rush to nearest facility which has CT scan. Achieving these objective mandates sustained collaboration and concerted efforts from a spectrum of stakeholders, encompassing government and private entities,” he added.


According to Shuchin Bajaj, Founder, Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, enhancing access to quality acute stroke management in India is not just a medical imperative, it is also a commitment to saving lives and ensuring a healthier future for all.

”To improve access to quality acute stroke management in India, several steps could be taken, including awareness campaigns, telemedicine, training and education, emergency medical services, public-private partnerships, mobile stroke units, and government policies. Apart from that, community engagement, affordable medications, and research and innovation are also needed in this direction,” he said.

Early diagnosis and detection of acute stroke symptoms are significant in its management as fast and accurate diagnosis is vital for selection of appropriate acute stroke treatment, Dr Aakaar Kapoor, CEO and Lead Medical Advisor, City X-Ray and Scan Clinic said.

”MRI brain is the investigation of choice while suspecting CVA (cerebral vascular accident), and can also be coupled along with MRI angiography. Also neurologists frequently prescribe for MRI perfusion to evaluate for the ischemic penumbra. More and more availability of quality diagnostics with high-end equipment in the country is crucial for improving access to quality stroke management,” he said.

According to reports, stroke is India’s fourth leading cause of death and fifth leading cause of disabilities, however, there is still very limited awareness about the various forms and causes of stroke. Many people confuse stroke with heart attacks and there is a need to create awareness of the early symptoms of stroke, which is a growing threat to the Indian population.

”It is also time we ensure accessible and affordable stroke ready hospitals and infrastructure not only for medical interventions during the critical ‘Golden Hour’, but also for specialised medical techniques like mechanical thrombectomy to reverse the damage to some extent or in full, and lessen the chances of death and disabilities.

”The IHW Council has been working relentlessly to bring all stakeholders together through its unique yearly Stroke Summit and has been striving to make impactful progress as far as stroke management in the country is concerned,” Kamal Narayan, CEO, IHW council said.


Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.