New dedicated unit to benefit Cork stroke patients


THE OPENING of a new acute stroke unit at the Mercy University Hospital in Cork has been described as a significant development for people who suffer from stroke, which nationally kills more people than lung cancer, bowel cancer and breast cancer combined.

According to Dr Kieran O’Connor, consultant in geriatric medicine and stroke physician at MUH, the designated five-bed unit will help enhance the service provided at the hospital which last year was designated as one of the acute stroke sites by the HSE national clinical care programme in stroke.

Dr O’Connor said an ischaemic stroke happens when the brain’s blood supply is interrupted by a blood clot, resulting in damage which can be permanent or fatal. Stroke symptoms can include paralysis down one side, with or without speech problems.

“Stroke is an illness with a huge personal and societal impact. Until recently many believed stroke was a disease for which little or nothing could be done. We now know that strokes are among the most preventable and treatable of all diseases.”

According to Dr O’Connor, who is also the acute stroke unit lead, consultants in geriatric medicine and neurology at the Cork hospital have over the past five years provided a 24/7 stroke thrombolysis (clot-busting) service, helping to prevent death and disability for many patients.

Research has shown that suitable patients given these clot-busting drugs within hours of a stroke are more likely to make a better recovery than those who do not receive the treatment. Dr O’Connor said this essential treatment would continue to be provided 24 hours per day, seven days per week at the Mercy.

He added: “Care in an acute stroke unit can also benefit patients not suitable for these clot-busting drugs.”