Clinical nurse consultant Vicky Grams said the new treatment would allow the first step of treatment to be delivered onsite, which was crucial in helping reduce the long-lasting impacts of stroke.
Clinical nurse consultant Vicky Grams said the new treatment would allow the first step of treatment to be delivered onsite, which was crucial in helping reduce the long-lasting impacts of stroke.

Lifesaving treatment in Proserpine a first for rural QLD

WHEN it comes to strokes, "time is brain".

That's why doctors and nurses at Proserpine Hospital believe a new, lifesaving treatment will significantly help the Whitsunday community and reduce the devastating effects of stroke.

Patients presenting to Proserpine Hospital with an ischaemic stroke now have access to a new clot-busting treatment gaining international attention for its reduction in long-lasting damage to the brain.

Proserpine is the first hospital in rural Queensland to be using the lifesaving treatment, tenecteplase, which comes in the form of a single injection.

The drug has the potential to increase a patient's chance of avoiding ongoing damage by more than 50 per cent.

Previously, Whitsunday patients who suffered a stroke had to be transported more than an hour away to Mackay Base Hospital for treatment.

Proserpine is the first hospital in rural Queensland to be using the lifesaving treatment, tenecteplase.
Proserpine is the first hospital in rural Queensland to be using the lifesaving treatment, tenecteplase.

Clinical nurse consultant Vicky Grams said the new treatment would allow the first step of treatment to be delivered onsite, which was crucial in helping reduce the long-lasting impacts of stroke.

"Time is brain," she said.

"(Previously) all that was done onsite is a CT scan and if the patient required anything after that they would have to go to Mackay.

"Now we can dissolve the clot onsite with the patient only going to Mackay for monitoring and rehabilitation.

"The quicker we can actually have patients present to the hospital that have had stroke symptoms … the quicker we can get these drugs in and the quicker we can hopefully restore that blood flow back to that part of the brain and hopefully limit or have no long-term debility or anything like that."

The drug works by dissolving the clot, which allows blood to once again circulate to the affected area of the brain.

Senior medical officer at Proserpine Hospital Dr Justin Gibbs said the drug would have a big impact on the Whitsunday community and give them access to a potentially life-changing treatment.

"(Stroke) is disabling and it can be very devastating … people will survive it, but they often end up severely disabled and that's the concern," he said.

"If we can reduce the chance of that happening it is what we aim for.

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"It brings us in line with what's offered at tertiary facilities (and) it gives our local community access to the current standard of care, which I think is huge.

"They say if we can give this drug within three hours, for every ten times we give it, one patient will have an excellent functional outcome so I mean, if we can give it 10 times we're going to essentially save someone from ending up with permanent disability.

"It's got the potential to do some significant good."

Dr Gibbs also urged residents to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of a stroke using the FAST acronym.

Using the FAST test involves asking three simple questions:

Face - Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arm - Can they lift both arms?

Speech - Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time is critical.

If you see any of these signs phone 000 straight away.


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