Modern treatment of stroke is based around dedicated stroke units like the one at Skåne University Hospital. The concept was pioneered in Scandinavia with the first units in the world set up in Sweden, Finland and Norway. Stroke is a serious condition leaving about half of the number of patients deceased or dependent three months after the onset of stroke. Treatment of acute stroke patients in a specialized stroke unit greatly improves both survival rates and healthcare dependency after stroke. Furthermore, it is highly cost-efficient, reducing the length of stay at hospital.
The stroke unit is composed of a wide range of professions specialized in stroke management: physicians, nurses, assistant nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, diet experts, neuropsychologists and social workers. The core principle of the stroke unit is to provide a full range of services, including early acute management and immediate start of rehabilitation. Skåne University Hospital also provides a high level of expertise in all aspects of rehabilitation medicine. The department of rehabilitation medicine was the first centre in Scandinavia to get international accreditation with CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities).
About 20% of patients with acute ischemic stroke are treated with intravenous thrombolysis, giving a thrombolytic drug to dissolve the clot. The stroke care in Malmö is among the fastest in the world with administration of clot-dissolving treatment within eight minutes after arrival at hospital (the Swedish national guidelines state that treatment should be given within 40 minutes). It is a unique, fast-track solution building on multidisciplinary collaboration between the emergency ward, the radiology department, the neurology department and the ambulance staff. The method was developed with focus on patient needs, and involves a dedicated stroke team and adapted facilities with a tomography unit next to the ambulance arrival zone.
Furthermore, we offer 24/7 mechanical thrombectomy. This is the latest state of the art treatment of large artery occlusions in brain vessels. We have developed a comprehensive telemedicine service connecting all hospitals in southern Sweden. Patients are transferred by ambulance or helicopter for acute thrombectomy at our interventional facility in Lund. In 2017 we treated more than 200 patients, which makes Lund one of the leading centres in northern Europe. A research study at Skåne University Hospital in collaboration with Lund University has shown that a patient undergoing thrombectomy requires less long-term care and supportive services than a patient who only is treated with thrombolysis, saving around SEK 500,000 per patient.