Heart and Stroke Foundation Report reveals Canadians don't get the 9-1-1 on stroke

    TORONTO, June 12 /CNW/ - At least half of Canadians do not treat stroke
as a medical emergency, warns the Heart and Stroke Foundation Report on
Stroke. In a national poll of adults, the Heart and Stroke Foundation found
that less than half would call 9-1-1 if they or someone they know experienced
warning signs of stroke.
    "With stroke, every minute counts," says Dr. Sandra Black, Heart and
Stroke Foundation spokesperson. "Time is brain. Each minute delay in calling
9-1-1 increases the odds of permanent brain damage, disability or death."
    There is a treatment for the most common form of stroke - strokes caused
by a blood clot in the arteries feeding the brain, referred to ischemic stroke
- but it must be administered within three hours of the onset of warning
    According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, there are over 50,000
diagnosed strokes in Canada each year. Of every 100 people who have a stroke:
    -   15 will die (15%)
    -   10 will recover completely (10%)
    -   25 recover with a minor impairment or disability (25%)
    -   40 are left with a moderate to severe impairment (40%)
    -   10 are so severely disabled they require long-term care (10%)

    Heart and Stroke Foundation Survey

    In a national survey conducted in the fall of 2007, the Heart and Stroke
Foundation found that close to three-quarters of Canadians can recognize at
least one warning sign of stroke. However, only five out of every 10 Canadian
adults aged 18 and over (49%) said they would call 9-1-1 if they or someone
they know experienced the warning signs.


                          % who would          Risk of not receiving
    PROVINCE              call 9-1-1(*)        timely stroke treatment
    Quebec                53%                  Serious risk
    New Brunswick         52%                  Serious risk
    Ontario               51%                  Serious risk
    Nova Scotia           50%                  Serious risk
    British Columbia      49%                  Severe risk
    Alberta               43%                  Severe risk
    Manitoba              41%                  Severe risk
    Saskatchewan          33%                  Critical risk
    P.E.I.                26%                  Critical risk
    Newfoundland          24%                  Critical risk
    National average      49%                  Severe risk

    (% of Canadians who would call 9-1-1 or local EMS if they or someone they
    knew experienced a stroke warning sign); (*)Results for Canada can be
    considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percent, 19 times out
    of 20
    Serious risk: 50-59%; Severe risk: 40-49%; Critical risk: less than 40%

    "It is shocking that only half of Canadians would call 9-1-1 if they or
someone they know experienced the warning signs of stroke," says Stephen
Samis, director of health policy for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of
Canada. "But what is even more disturbing is the variation in results across
the country.
    "Canadians need equal access to the best stroke care, no matter where
they live," says Samis. "Coordinated stroke strategies can make a key
difference. At the same time, these results also tell us that we still have a
long way to go in ensuring equitable access to quality stroke care across
    Public awareness campaigns on recognizing and reacting to stroke warning
signs are an important component of stroke strategies. But increased awareness
is only the first step to improving the odds for stroke survivors. Key to
surviving a stroke is having access to coordinated stroke strategies able to
provide timely and specialized stroke care to patients.
    Currently, only three provinces - Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta - have
sustained, integrated, coordinated stroke strategies that are funded by their
provincial governments.

    The Canadian Stroke Strategy

    "We can and must do a better job of treating stroke effectively and
reintegrating people back into their communities," says Sally Brown, CEO of
the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "That's why the Heart and Stroke
Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Stroke Network created the Canadian
Stroke Strategy. It is designed to provide all Canadians with the best stroke
care possible, regardless of where they live, by 2010."
    By organizing stroke care through an integrated stroke strategy, we can
improve the treatment of stroke - from early identification of warning signs
through to immediate diagnosis, targeted treatment, and rehabilitation - and
dramatically reduce the impact of stroke, notes Brown.
    Widespread access to organized stroke care could prevent more than
160,000 strokes, prevent disability in 60,000 Canadians, and save $8 billion
net in health-care costs over the next 20 years in Canada.
    Significant progress is being made across the country in implementing
organized stroke care. But if individuals experiencing stroke don't know they
are having a stroke and don't get to the hospital in a timely fashion, the
benefits of organized care won't be realized. To improve access to organized
stroke care the Heart and Stroke Foundation has the following recommendations:

    Heart and Stroke Foundation recommendations

    To governments:

    -   Invest in and implement the Canadian Stroke Strategy provincially and

    To physicians:

    -   Educate patients at risk of TIA or stroke on stroke warning signs and
        the urgency of getting immediate medical care if experiencing one or
        more of these signs.

    -   Reduce your patients' risk of TIA or stroke
        -  Provide information to patients about risk factors and lifestyle
           management (exercise, diet, weight control, being smoke-free,
        -  Ensure all people at risk of stroke have blood pressure regularly
           monitored and controlled if necessary.

    To pre-hospital and emergency medical service systems:

    -   Educate first responders on the warning signs of stroke and provide
        diagnostic screening tools.

    -   Heighten the emergency response to stroke through priority dispatch.

    -   Implement protocols and mechanisms to enable the rapid transfer of
        stroke patients to designated hospitals that provide emergency stroke

    To regional health authorities and hospitals

    -   Designate specific hospitals to deliver emergency stroke care and
        interdisciplinary care in dedicated stroke care units.

    -   Organize stroke care delivery based on the Canadian Stroke Strategy's
        Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for Stroke Care.

    To Canadians:

    -   Learn the stroke warning signs. Go to heartandstroke.ca or call
        1-888-HSF-INFO to get more information.

    -   Activate emergency medical services if you experience the warning
        signs or observe someone with the warning signs of stroke: call 9-1-1
        or your local emergency number. Stroke is a medical emergency.

    -   Play a proactive role in managing your own health. Ask your physician
        if you are at-risk of stroke and what you can do to reduce your risk.

    -   Let your government representative know about the benefits of
        organized stroke care and the need for ongoing government investment.

    -   People affected by stroke and their families can advocate for change
        at all levels by telling their story and calling for action.

    To research funding bodies and universities:

    -   Expand research capacity to address stroke prevention, treatment,
        rehabilitation and community reintegration.

    According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, stroke is the third leading
cause of mortality in Canada, accounting for 14,000 deaths every year. Over
50,000 diagnosed strokes occur in Canada each year - that's one stroke every
10 minutes. Stroke is also a leading cause of adult neurological disability
and hospitalization. It has been estimated that there are more than 300,000
Canadians living with mild, moderate or severe disability due to stroke.

    The Heart and Stroke Foundation (www.heartandstroke.ca), a
volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke
and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its
application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

    B-roll will be available through CNW Group - at the listed times and

    Live Satellite Coordinates:

    DATE OF FEED:   Thursday, June 12

    TIME OF FEED:   2:00 p.m. EDT

    COORDINATES:    Anik F2 C, Transponder 3B

                    Audio subcarrier 6.2 and 6.8

                    Downlink frequency 3820 vertical

For further information:

For further information: Stacy O'Rourke, Heart and Stroke Foundation,
(416) 489-7111 ext. 482 or (416) 937-5307; Jane-Diane Fraser, Heart and Stroke
Foundation, (613) 569-4361 ext. 273; For your local media contact, please see
"contact us" at www.heartandstroke.ca/media

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890