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June is Stroke Awareness Month in Canada

A stroke occurs when blood stops flowing to any part of the brain, damaging brain cells. After the onset of acute stroke, approximately 2 million brain cells die every minute. It is a medical emergency and requires the right care, right away.

The effects of a stroke depend on the part of the brain that was damaged, and the amount of damage done. Advancements have been made in diagnosing and treating stroke patients to improve outcomes, including survival and quality of life, however more than 400,000 Canadians are living with a long-term disability from the effects of a stroke.

Education and knowledge are powerful tools that can significant improve our ability to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the risks posed by a stroke.

Did You Know?

There are three types of strokes that can occur. They are:

Ischemic stroke – a stroke caused by a blockage or clot in a blood vessel in your brain.

Hemorrhagic stroke – a stroke caused when an artery in the brain breaks open. The resulting interruption to blood flow causes damage to your brain.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – a stroke caused by a small clot that briefly blocks an artery. This is sometimes called a mini-stroke or a warning stroke.

Did You Know?

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has been educating Canadians for more than 60 years about the importance of fighting heart disease and stroke, the signs to look for, and the action to take during this medical emergency.

Heart and Stroke recommends using the FAST method to determine if you or someone you know is suffering a stroke.

FAST stands for:

  • Face: is it drooping?
  • Arms: can you raise both?
  • Speech: is it slurred or jumbled?
  • Time: if you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 911 right away.

Through a partnership with Heart & Stroke, all new ambulances in Manitoba help raise awareness of the signs of stroke and the importance of acting quickly by displaying FAST decals on their back windows.

Did You Know?

Strokes disproportionately affect women. 59 per cent of stroke deaths occur in the female population.

Did You Know?

Approximately 2,000 Manitobans suffer a stroke each year. 

Stroke care is delivered in Manitoba as part of an integrated provincial program. The treatment of stroke has three windows of therapy including clot busting, clot removal and early intensive rehabilitation therapy.

  • Clot busting is available at in all regions of Manitoba at hospitals with Telestroke Site designation. Patients are eligible for this treatment up to 4.5 hours from the onset of symptoms.
  • Clot removal is performed in specialized interventional neuroradiology suites located at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg. Patients are generally eligible for this treatment up to 6 hours from the onset of symptoms. A smaller number of patients, based on their brain imaging findings, may be eligible for this treatment up to 24 hours from the time of onset.
  • Early Intensive Rehabilitation Therapy is considered leading practice across Canada and is often offered within a dedicated acute stroke unit. An acute stroke unit will be built at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg (HSC) to provide Manitoba stroke patients with access to the full range of therapies required to maximize recovery.

Did You Know?

Acute stroke units are considered leading practice across Canada for the treatment, management and rehabilitation of stroke patients. They can reduce the likelihood of death and disability by as much as 30 per cent for men and women of any age with mild, moderate and severe strokes.

A trained team of inter-professional staff, including stroke neurologists, hospitalists, nursing, physiatrists and rehabilitation specialists, work together to deliver early, intensive care.

Once complete, this new 28-bed unit is expected to prevent stroke complications, reduce patient length of stay and ensure the availability of early rehabilitation therapy for patients.

Did You Know?

Clinical teams and facilities operate mock codes and other clinical scenarios to ensure health care workers are familiar with the processes and steps necessary to save patients’ lives. These simulations are held within the space where care would normally be provided and involve members of the interdisciplinary teams that would provide care.

Participants are expected to perform as though the simulation is a real-life emergency. The activity and care provided are observed and the team is given feedback during a debrief intended to identify successes and learning opportunities.

Manitoba’s Mock Stroke 25

In January 2020, participants from Shared Health Emergency Response Services, HSC Emergency Department, Interventional Neuroradiology and Shared Health Diagnostic Imaging, together with Medtronic, completed a Mock Stroke 25 to ensure comfort and awareness of all members of the Stroke Team with the new location of Interventional Radiology within the Diagnostic Centre of Excellence. To learn more, watch the video:

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