Specialist RAH PAISLEY stroke service highlighted as residents urged to act FAST

4th Jul 2024
Residents of Renfrewshire are being reminded of the main signs of stroke – and urged to act FAST if they suspect someone is having one. 
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) said getting medical help as quickly as possible could massively improve a person’s recovery if they’ve had a stroke, and could be the difference between life and death.
A specialist thrombolysis service was introduced at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley at the end of 2022. It is a type of medical procedure which dissolves stroke-causing blood clots – restoring blood flow to the brain. 
However, the procedure must be carried out within the first few hours of symptoms starting, and any delay can potentially result in a substantial loss of brain tissue and functional abilities.
NHSGGC stressed the need for people to act quickly if they suspect they or someone else is having a stroke.
The main symptoms can be easily remembered using the ‘FAST’ test: Facial weakness, Arm weakness, Speech problems, Time to call 999.
  • Face – Has the person’s face fallen on one side? Has their eye or mouth drooped, and are they able to smile? 
  • Arms – Can they raise both arms and keep them there? 
  • Speech – Is their speech slurred or garbled? The person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake and they may have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
  • Time – It’s time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
Symptoms in the FAST test identify most strokes. Occasionally a stroke can cause different symptoms which might include problems with balance and coordination, a sudden and very severe headache and a loss of feeling in one side of the body. However, there can be other causes for these symptoms.
The thrombolysis service at the RAH Paisley can be accessed from 9.00am-5.00pm, with stroke patients transferred to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, outside of these hours.
It is used for the treatment of ischaemic strokes – those caused by blood clots – which account for approximately 85% of all cases.
The RAH Paisley treatment is there for residents of Paisley and Renfrewshire, as well as for people living in the Vale of Leven area including Dumbarton, Alexandria, Bonhill and Balloch.
The therapeutic window for thrombolysis is usually up to four and a half hours after symptoms have started, so it is crucial that people act urgently and call 999 as soon as they notice symptoms.
Studies have shown that for every 15 minute delay in administering thrombolysis, there is a corresponding loss of approximately one month of healthy life, primarily due to increased time for rehabilitation.
Julie McManus, a Consultant Physician who treats stroke patients at the RAH, said: “If you suspect a stroke, it is vital that you or the person you are concerned about get to hospital as quickly as possible.  Acting quickly could greatly improve their outcome and recovery, and could even save their life.
“The main signs of a stroke can be easily remembered as the ‘FAST’ test, and if you recognise any of these symptoms you must dial 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance. 
“At the RAH Paisley, delivery of our thrombolysis treatment within the first few hours of symptoms starting can ensure blood flow to the brain is restored quickly, reducing the risk of disability and other lasting effects in stroke survivors.”

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