Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) on Saturday said its Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinic (SSPC) has delivered education, monitoring and prevention services to hundreds of stroke patients with almost 3,000 visits since its opening in April 2018.
The aim of the clinic is to reduce the risk for a recurrence in patients who have recently had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA or ‘mini-stroke’), as Dr Naveed Akhtar, head of Stroke Services at HMC, explained: “The patients that we see in this clinic have a high risk of suffering a stroke or TIA, often for the second or even third time.” 
“We have made enormous progress in recent years to improve the treatment given to stroke patients – we now see patients more quickly, treat them with specialist teams and help them recover faster than ever before. The SSPC complements these improvements by enabling us to not only treat the symptoms and effects of stroke but also to prevent strokes from happening again,” added Dr Akhtar.
Due to the high prevalence of many of the risk factors of stroke among Qatar’s population, the incidence of stroke is high, particularly amongst those under the age of 60 years.
“Studies show that the risk of recurrent stroke is between 5-10% within the first 30 days and rises to up to 40% within five years of the initial stroke. For this reason, it is essential that we provide suitable education and support for stroke patients to try to prevent any further incidents,” stated Dr Akhtar. 
The stroke team ensures that all stroke patients are given an appointment date at the SSPC within six weeks of discharge from every HMC hospital, according to a press statement. The SSPC runs eight clinics a week, with services delivered by specially trained stroke consultants, clinical nurse specialists, educators and pharmacists. 
“During the consultations, our teams discuss a wide range of preventative issues with patients, including diagnostic results, healthy lifestyle habits and the main risk factors for stroke,” said Paula Bourke, advanced clinical nurse specialist for stroke. “The new clinic is equipped with advanced stroke investigation technology, including Prolonged Holter monitoring to assess heart function, 24-hour blood pressure monitoring devices and specialist 3D Doppler Carotid ultrasound equipment."
There are many factors that increase a person’s risk of stroke: high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and not taking medication as prescribed. The SSPC helps to give patients a better understanding of these factors and offers them practical ways to minimise their risk. 
The SSPC highlights HMC’s focus on health promotion and education, the statement notes. With the opening of this service, in addition to the Tobacco Control Center and National Obesity Treatment Center, both of which have opened in the past two years, HMC is expanding its range of preventative services aimed at keeping Qatar’s population as healthy as possible.