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NICE sets out stroke treatment pathway

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All patients suspected of having a stroke should have a swallowing assessment within 24 hours of admission to hospital, according to latest clinical guidance.

The joint guidelines, published last week by NICE and the Royal College of Physicians, also recommend that people who have suffered a stroke should have as much rehabilitation therapy as they can cope with – at least 45 minutes a day.

Stroke is the third biggest cause of death in the UK, and around 150,000 people suffer a stroke every year. Part of the aim of the first national strategy on stroke, launched in December 2007, was to ‘revolutionise’ stroke services by accelerating emergency response.

In line with this, the new guidelines recommend that anyone suspected of having a stroke should be transferred directly to an acute stroke unit where they can undergo thrombolytic therapy as soon as possible.

Thousands of lives could be saved if stroke patients are assessed and treated quickly by a dedicated stroke team, including specialist stroke nurses, the institute said

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