February 02 @ 01:00am

‘Time is Brain’ - Key message from Stroke Report launch

The launch of the Irish National Audit of Stroke National Report 2020 took place on Wednesday 2nd February 2022.

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‘Time is Brain’ - Key message from Stroke Report launch Image

Stroke is the leading cause of acquired disability and the 3rd leading cause of death in Ireland

Professor Joe Harbison, Clinical Lead for the Irish National Audit of Stroke (INAS) launched the Irish National Audit of Stroke National Report 2020 at a virtual meeting hosted by NOCA on Wednesday 2nd February 2022. There are approximately 6000 strokes admitted to Irish hospitals per year - this report analysed data on 5,153 stroke patients. While stroke is looked upon as a disease of the older person, over a quarter of the cases were aged under 65 years. 57% of all cases were male.

‘Time is Brain’ - Stroke is a medical emergency which requires urgent treatment. The sooner a person arrives to hospital, is assessed by a doctor and receives a brain scan, the less damage is likely to happen. This results in better outcomes and less disability. Only 50% of patients arrived at hospital within 3 hours of onset of stroke symptoms.

This years' report is the largest and most complete we have produced in the last 10 years despite the challenges of compiling it during the COVID-19 pandemic. It shows continued improvement in some areas, especially in getting patients to urgent treatment faster. In other areas, such as admission to stroke units and provision of therapies, substantial room for improvements remain.

Professor Joe Harbison, Clinical Lead, Irish National Audit of Stroke


  • The median time to contact with a doctor after arrival at hospital was 11 minutes, 6 minutes faster than in 2019.

  • The median time from arrival at hospital to brain scan was 1 hour and 3 minutes, 17 minutes faster than in 2019.

  • Thrombolysis is the breakdown of blood clots formed in blood vessels using medication. The thrombolysis rate was 10.6%, similar to 2019 but could be increased if people attended hospital as soon as possible.

  • 8.6% of all ischaemic stroke patients had a thrombectomy. This is a procedure where large clots can be removed from arteries in the brain. The current thrombectomy rate in Europe is 1.9%.

  • 71% of patients with a stroke were admitted to a stroke unit (below the target of 90%).

  • 88% of all patients with a stroke were assessed by at least one type of health and social care professional (HSCP).

  • 71% of ischaemic stroke cases had disabilities on discharge.

  • 59% of patients were discharged home with a further 7% provided with Early Supported Discharge (stroke specific rehabilitation in the home rather than in hospital).

  • Mortality reduced from 12% in 2019 to 11% in 2020.

  • There was no substantial change in stroke activity between the pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods.

I am a stroke survivor, having suffered a stroke in 2013 while I was doing an interview on local radio. It should never be forgotten that the patient is the central figure in healthcare, and the patient’s voice must always be heard, as it is by the INAS Governance Committee. The INAS continues to highlight the need to increase public awareness of the symptoms of stroke and the importance of seeking immediate emergency care. I fully agree with the INAS recommendation that a stroke awareness campaign should be funded as a priority in order to ensure that patients can access care as quickly as possible. We need a firm commitment to implement this by the end of 2022.

Martin Quinn, Public and Patient Interest Representative, Irish National Audit of Stroke Governance Committee

Copies of the National Report and Summary Report can be read by clicking the buttons below. Copies of the presentations are available below by clicking on the presentation title. The recording of the launch event is available at the bottom of the page.

[ Read National Report]( https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/noca-uploads/general/Irish%5FNational%5FAudit%5Fof%5FStroke%5FNational%5FReport%5F2020%5FFINAL.pdf


[ Read Summary Report]( https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/noca-uploads/general/Irish%5FNational%5FAudit%5Fof%5FStroke%5FSummary%5FReport%5F2020%5FFINAL.pdf


Speaker Presentation Joan McCormack, Cardiovascular Programme Audit Manager Key Findings 2020 Claire Prendergast, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Stroke, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda Key Findings from the Health and Social Care Professions (HSCP) dataset Shiji Paulose, Clinical Nurse Specialist - Stroke, University Hospital Limerick Data Reconciliation Project for University Hospital Limerick Stroke Service Professor Philippe Ryvlin, Professor of Neurology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland & Head, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University Hospital of Lausanne European Collaboration

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