Reports on Canadians' Stroke Health

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Stroke Report 2015: The critical first hours
after stroke

Posted: June 2015

Gaps in the healthcare system and Canadians’ inability to recognize stroke put them at risk
of death or disability

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Stroke Report 2015 highlights challenges in the vital first hours after stroke that are preventing too many Canadians from getting the best care.

Too few Canadians recognize the signs of stroke, and too often there are delays in important steps in diagnosis and treatment.

Stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate action and medical attention. The faster someone experiencing a stroke gets to a hospital that provides acute stroke care services, the better their chances of survival and recovery with little or no disability. But this is not happening to the extent it should.

Too few Canadians recognize the signs of stroke and know what to do

The Foundation recently launched a new campaign promoting the acronym FAST as a simple way to help Canadians recognize the signs of stroke and take action.

According to a new Heart and Stroke Foundation poll done for the Stroke Report, Canadians’ understanding of stroke is poor:

  • Only one-third are able to describe what a stroke is (a sudden loss of brain function)
  • Almost half do not know any of the three FAST signs of stroke.

Blanche’s story
Talking to her daughter on the phone, Blanche Gray’s voice started to wobble and her words became garble. Only minutes earlier, she had seen the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s TV ad describing the signs of stroke – a coincidence that may have saved her life. Read Blanche’s story in the Stroke Report.

Other issues highlighted in the report:

Only 59 per cent of people who have a stroke arrive at the emergency department by ambulance. Ambulances not only get stroke patients to hospital more safely and efficiently, they can get them to one that provides specialized stroke care.

Less than 40 per cent of patients who are eligible to receive clot-busting drugs arrive at hospital within the 4 ½-hour treatment window, and young stroke patients in their 20s and 30s take the longest to get to hospital.

Stroke facts

  • 62,000 strokes occur in Canada each year – that is one stroke every nine minutes.
  • 83 per cent of those who have a stroke and make it to hospital will now survive.
  • Stroke can happen at any age. Stroke among people under 65 is increasing. 

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