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Early diagnosis, treatment of stroke patients could still be improved: study

(Xinhua)

15:43, July 17, 2012

VANCOUVER, July 13 (Xinhua) -- A new Canadian study has found that although the number of stroke deaths is declining in the country, early diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients could still be improved.

The study, released Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, examined more than 62,000 stroke cases that occurred in the province of Ontario between 2006-2007 and 2009-2010.

It found that despite best practice recommendations, more than one in three Ontario stroke patients did not arrive at the hospital by ambulance.

Quick diagnosis and treatment are critical in stroke care, because in some cases there is a short window to limit or reduce brain damage for patients, the study said.

However, a national audit conducted by the Canadian Stroke Network showed that only about one-third of patients with stroke across Canada arrived at the hospital within 3.5 hours of the onset of their symptoms.

There is room for improvement in the ability of the population to recognize and respond most appropriately to the first symptoms of stroke, the study suggested.

Warning signs and symptoms of stroke include weakness, such as sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg, trouble speaking, vision problems, headache and dizziness, it said.

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