In March 1997, the Section of Neurology of the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry created the Stroke Study Group. Its aim, among other things, was to formulate comprehensive studies and researches regarding cerebrovascular events being seen in the hospital. A stroke registry was drafted to include information regarding the general data, symptoms, laboratory examinations, management, outcome, and total expenses incurred. Several papers were completed using this registry, notably “The Stroke Registry in USTH” authored by then resident, Dr. Grace Ang. This paper established the prevalence of stroke in the Santo Tomas University Hospital (STUH), its most common manifestations, the length of pre-hospital delay, current management strategies, complications that developed while admitted, and outcome on discharge.
To address the issues raised by the results of the study, the Stroke Study Group created the STUH stroke team, with the aim of:
- disseminating information regarding cerebrovascular diseases to the community in the Sampaloc area, and later to the general population;
- providing a protocol in the management of stroke;
- to pursue studies and researches on the disease.
In 2003, with the advent of different therapeutic interventions, the Stroke Unit, was constructed through generous contributions of two drug companies (Natrapharm-Patriot and Otsuka,Philippines). It was inaugurated on February 27, 2004. The various disciplines involved in the treatment and rehabilitation of stroke were invited to become members of the Stroke Team. In March 2004, a team building activity designed to foster cooperation among its members, and with the goal of formulating the mission statement and vision of the University of Santo Tomas Hospital Stroke Service was held in Tagaytay.
Formal operations began in July 2004, under the leadership of Dr. Jose C. Navarro. This also marked the establishment of the Stroke Fellowship Program, with Dr. Annabelle Lao as its first graduate in June 2005.