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News release: High stroke impact in low- and middle-income countries examined at Congress


What: 11th World Stroke Congress brings together leading international stroke experts and an unparalleled scientific program covering epidemiology, prevention, acute care, rehabilitation and recovery in 100s of sessions and oral posters. Congress is attended by close to 2500 stroke professionals, researchers, policy makers, survivors and caregivers from around the world. #worldstroke2018

Where: Montreal, Canada, Palais des Congrès

When: October 17 – 20, 2018

Media opportunities: Stroke experts and people with lived experience of stroke will be available for interviews.

Today’s congress highlights

Late-breaking trials:

  • Basilar artery occlusion Endovascular intervention versus Standard medical Treatment (BEST) Trial: Primary results of a multi-centre randomized controlled trial. The BEST trial, a Chinese-government funded multi-centre trial, compares the benefit of endovascular treatment (ET) to standard medical care. Presenters Dr. Raul Nogueira of Emory University and Dr. Xinfeng Liu of Nanjing University (China) will present the study, which found patients treated with ET achieved significantly better outcomes. (11:10 am, Hall B)
  • Randomized controlled trial of the safety and efficacy of dabigatran etexilate vs. dose-adjusted warfarin in patients with cerebral venous thrombosis (RE-SPECT CVT) (11:30 am, Hall B) 
    EXtending the time for Thrombolysis in Emergency Neurological Deficits – EXTEND (11:50 am, Hall B)
  • Sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation to augment collateral perfusion primary in acute ischemic stroke: Primary results of the IMPACT-24B pivotal trial (12:10 pm, Hall B)

Hot topic: Less wealthy countries struggle to meet greater need with far fewer resources

Why are low-and middle-income countries so hard hit by stroke and what can be done about it? This vital question will be discussed today at the World Stroke Congress in Montreal with the presentation of an action plan by Dr. Mayowa Owolabi of Nigeria, who leads the Lancet Neurology Commission on Stroke in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

“Low- and middle-income countries bear over 80 per cent of the global burden of stroke, but have less than 20 per cent of the global resources to combat it,” said Dr. Owolabi.

The aging population and the increases in risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes are driving up stroke rates. Strokes occur, on average, 15 years earlier in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.

Dr. Owolabi is championing a prevention and treatment action plan to reduce premature mortality from stroke by one-third by 2030 and fundamentally and substantially improve stroke services across the globe, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Hot topic:  Building momentum to address sex differences in stroke

Women bear a greater burden of stroke than men and leading stroke experts will look at incidence and mortality rates, the impact of traditional risk factors on women versus men, the quality of care women receive compared to men, and international efforts in Europe and North America to address the challenges.

“There’s no question that there is an urgent need for worldwide collaborations to develop better understanding about sex and gender differences in stroke incidence, presentation, prevention and treatments,” said Dr. Aleksandra Pikula, a stroke neurologist with expertise in stroke in young adults/women at the University Health Network in Toronto. “Only successful collaborations can improve care and recovery, especially for women, who have poorer functional outcomes and lower quality of life than men after stroke.”

11th World Stroke Congress

The 11th World Stroke Congress, being held Oct. 17-20, 2018, at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal, Quebec, brings together leading international stroke experts and an unparalleled scientific program covering epidemiology, prevention, acute care and recovery in hundreds of sessions and oral posters. The Congress is attended by stroke professionals, researchers, policy makers and people with lived experience from around the world. This is the first time the biennial Congress has been held in North America in 12 years; the 2016 Congress was held in Hyderabad, India. This year’s Congress is jointly organized by the World Stroke Organization (WSO) and the Canadian Stroke Consortium (CSC). Co-presidents are Dr. Werner Hacke, WSO President, and Dr. Mike Sharma, CSC Chair.  WorldStrokeCongress.org/2018

About Stroke

A stroke happens when blood stops flowing to a part of the brain or bleeding occurs in the brain. This interruption in blood flow or bleeding into the brain leads to damage to the surrounding brain cells which cannot be repaired or replaced; 1.9 million brain cells die every minute during a stroke. Stroke can happen at any age. Stroke affects everyone: survivors, family and friends, workplaces and communities.

The effects of a stroke depend on the part of the brain that was damaged and the amount of damage done. Ischemic stroke is the most common form of stroke, caused by a sudden blocked artery (about 85% of all stroke). A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is sometimes called a mini-stroke and is the mildest form of ischemic stroke. A TIA is an ischemic stroke, caused by a briefly blocked artery with rapid spontaneous unblocking of the artery leading to only a short period of brain malfunction. However, TIAs are an important warning that a more serious stroke may occur. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures, causing bleeding in or around the brain (about 15% of all stroke). 

Recovery from stroke starts right away. The quicker the signs are recognized, and the patient is diagnosed and treated, the greater likelihood of a good recovery, with less chance of another stroke, and decreased healthcare costs. The first few hours after stroke are crucial, affecting the recovery journey for years to come.

The impact of stroke around the world
  • There are over 80 million people currently living with the effects of stroke globally.
  • Stroke is the second leading cause of death and disability globally.
  • There are 13.7 million strokes around the world each year.
  • Five and a half million people die of stroke each year globally. 
  • One person dies of stroke every six seconds globally.
  • One in four survivors will have another stroke.
Stroke in Canada
  • Nine in ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for stroke.
  • There are 62,000 strokes in Canada each year – that is one stroke every nine minutes.
  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada and a leading cause of disability.
  • Each year, more than 13,000 Canadians die from stroke.
  • More than 400,000 Canadians live with long-term disability from stroke and this will almost double in the next 20 years.
  • Stroke among people under 65 is increasing and stroke risk factors are increasing for young adults.
World Stroke Organization

The World Stroke Organization (WSO) is the only global organization with a sole focus on fighting stroke. WSO’s mission is to reduce the global burden of stroke through prevention, treatment and long term care. WSO provides a strong voice for stroke professionals, survivors and caregivers in global and regional policy. The Organization is a WHO implementing partner and has UN approved consultative status. www.world-stroke.org

Canadian Stroke Consortium

The Canadian Stroke Consortium is the professional organization for stroke neurologists and other physicians interested in stroke. Our members are committed to reducing the burden of stroke through the translation of clinical research into routine patient care. Increasing capacity for high quality research, enhancing the capability of stroke services, leading comprehensive knowledge translation programs, and advocating in health policy and systems of care affecting stroke represent the four pillars of CSC’s activities. strokeconsortium.ca

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so Canadians don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy.

For more information and to set up interviews contact: Diane Hargrave, dhprbks@interlog.com

416-467-9954, ext. 102