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Study Finds Delays in Stroke Prevention Surgery

According to a study published on bmj.com, only one in five patients have surgery within the two-week target time to reduce their risk of stroke as set by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). 

Stroke is the single largest cause of severe disability in adults.  Approximately 120,000 people have a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke each year and up to 30% die within a month.  A surgical procedure, known as carotid endarterectomy, reduces the risk of stroke in patients with stenosis (a narrowed or blocked carotid artery) and symptoms of having had a minor stroke.

The authors surveyed 240 surgeons from 102 hospitals about all carotid endarterectomies they performed between December 2005 and December 2007.

Of 5,513 patients who underwent surgery, 83% had a history of transient ischaemic attack or stroke, but only 20% had their operation within two weeks of onset of symptoms and 30% waited more than 12 weeks. The average delay from referral to surgery was 40 days.  Twenty-nine patients died while in the hospital, while 48 patients died 30 days after surgery, mainly from strokes.

These findings show unacceptable delays between symptom and operation. Such delays are associated with a high risk of disabling or fatal stroke before surgery, and the benefit of surgery consequently falls rapidly with increasing delay.

If you or someone you love suffered injury or death because of delay in the diagnosis or treatment of stroke, you should contact the lawyers at Berger & Lagnese for a free consultation.  The lawyers at Berger & Lagnese specialize in medical malpractice cases involving the failure to diagnose and treat medical conditions such as stroke.