Hospital aims to test all seniors for stroke risk

| 21/10/2014

(CNS): In a major health research project doctors at the Shetty hospital in East end are aiming to test 3000 people over the age of 65 in Cayman to assess and help treat their risk of stroke as well as collect enough clinical data for a medical study on the subject of Atrial Fibrillation or arrhythmia. The project was formerly launched at Health City Cayman on Monday when around 30 over 65s were tested using high tech equipment following an explanation of the project by Dr Irka Ebanks, who will be leading the research study and screenings. The study, the Cayman Islands Atrial Fibrillation for Elderly (CAFE) is the first of its kind in the Caribbean and will deal with both risk and treatment.

Commonly known as Afib the condition is an irregular, erratic or fast paced heart beat which allows blood to accumulate in the lower chambers of the heart because. This can lead to clotting and the clots can enter the blood stream and reach the brain causing a stroke. Although medical experts do not know what causes the problem they know that certain circumstances can place people at high risk.

Those risk factors include; if a person is aged over 65, if they suffer from high blood pressure, if they have coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular heart disease or congenital heart disease. Other risk factors include if a person suffers from sleep apnoea, hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone), obesity or diabetes. In addition, if they suffer from lung disease, have a family history of Afib or have a history of smoking and alcohol abuse, then they are more likely to suffer from Afib.

Dr Ebanks said it was extremely important to screen people because in many people, AFib does not cause obvious warning signs.

“When symptoms do occur, they often include palpitations, chest pain/tightness, dizziness, breathlessness, fatigue or lack of energy,” she said. “These symptoms do not always immediately indicate Afib, so screening people means patients themselves may be better equipped to understand the warning signs and at the same time we will have the information we need to help diagnose the condition quickly. Speed is of the essence in such a case: the sooner a patient receives medical care following a stroke the better the prognosis.”

There are millions of people around the world with Afib, with 2010 estimated numbers globally running at 33.5 million for men and 12.6 million for women, so it is a huge problem world-wide.

Following the launch on Monday screenings will be held at the hospital over the next few weeks and doctors will also be going into the community to test as many of the 3000 people here aged 65 and over as possible, in order to get enough information to support any research conclusions.

The hospital is urging all seniors or anyone who may have other risk factors to join in the study. The non-invasive testing is being done using Ipad app technology as well as an EKG and simply reads pulse vibrations, and takes under10 minutes to complete.
For more information call 1 (345) 945-4040 or visit


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Health

About the Author ()

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonyanmous says:

    Thank you Health City, the best thing to happen to Cayman since electricity.

  2. Ruud says:

    To inquire about an appointment for this test:

    – Go to:

    – Click on: Schedule Appointment

    – Fill in the form and select "Stroke Prevention Study (CAFE)" as the Reason for Inquiry

    – That's all

  3. Anonymous says:

    Prevention is better than cure. But no need to fear, I am sure Dr. Irka knows all about that and we will be getting the wisdom soon.