The status of acute stroke care in Saudi Arabia: an urgent call for action!

Authors

  • Ali M. Al Khathaami,

    Corresponding author
    1. Assistant Professor of Neurology, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS); Stroke and Neurology Consultant (KAMC); Director, Medicine Residency Training Program (KSAU-HS); Vice President, Saudi Stroke Association; Department of Medicine (MC 1443), King Abdulaziz Medical City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
      Ali M. Al Khathaami*, Department of Medicine, King Abdullah International Research Center, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, P.O. Box 22490 Riyadh 11426, Saudi Arabia.
      E mail: khathamia@ngha.med.sa; khathamia@yahoo.com; Facebook: Ali M. Al-khathaami.
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  • Hussein Algahtani,

    1. Assistant Professor of Neurology, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS); Stroke and Neurology Consultant (KAMC); Director, Medicine Residency Training Program (KSAU-HS); Vice President, Saudi Stroke Association; Department of Medicine (MC 1443), King Abdulaziz Medical City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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  • Albaraa Alwabel,

    1. College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia
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  • Nora Alosherey,

    1. Ibn Sina National College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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  • Suleiman Kojan,

    1. Assistant Professor of Neurology, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS); Stroke and Neurology Consultant (KAMC); Director, Medicine Residency Training Program (KSAU-HS); Vice President, Saudi Stroke Association; Department of Medicine (MC 1443), King Abdulaziz Medical City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    2. College of Medicine, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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  • Mohammed Aljumah

    1. College of Medicine, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    2. Department of Medicine, King Abdullah International Research center, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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  • Conflicts of interest: None declared.

Ali M. Al Khathaami*, Department of Medicine, King Abdullah International Research Center, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, P.O. Box 22490 Riyadh 11426, Saudi Arabia.
E mail: khathamia@ngha.med.sa; khathamia@yahoo.com; Facebook: Ali M. Al-khathaami.

Abstract

Stroke care in Saudi Arabia lags behind developed countries with only one active stroke centre and seven centres providing thrombolysis out of >350 hospitals nationally; only two hospitals have a stroke team with implemented triaging pathways and beeper system. Via phone interview, we approached 83 neurologists and asked their opinion on stroke care practiced in Saudi Arabia. The study was approved by IRB. There are >350 hospitals in Saudi Arabia and only one centre has a stroke unit, and only seven provide thrombolysis. It is estimated that the number of cases treated with thrombolysis is 50/year for 24 million people. Overall, the neurologists indentified their priorities for improving care as: establishing stroke units; increase public awareness; and training health care providers and collaboration. The neurologists we interviewed view acute stroke care in Saudi Arabia as inadequate. This is an urgent call for actions to start organising nation-wide stroke care to close the existing huge evidence–practice gap.

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