Challenges of stroke management in resource-limited settings: A case-based reflection

Malawi Med J. 2017 Jun;29(2):189-193. doi: 10.4314/mmj.v29i2.21.


A 19-year-old man presented with a 1-year history of headache, generalised body weakness, progressive memory loss, and disorientation. One month prior to admission, there was aggravation of the weakness of the right upper limb, with new-onset difficulty with mastication, speech impairment, apathy, and urinary incontinence. On clinical examination, the patient had a motor aphasia and a right-sided hemiparesis with increased muscle tone and hyperreflexia. A noncontrast computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain revealed large ischaemic strokes extending beyond the classical vascular territories. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis showed a mildly increased protein level. The electrocardiogram revealed an irregular sinus bradycardia. The remainder of the cardiovascular and laboratory workup was unremarkable. Considering a working diagnosis of central nervous system vasculitis, the patient was treated with aspirin, prednisolone, and physiotherapy. However, he died suddenly a few weeks later. Based on this case, we discuss the challenges of stroke management in resource-limited settings, provide practical tips for general practitioners, reflect on the potential avenues for short- and long-term action, and introduce the budding collaboration platform between the University College London, the University of Liverpool, the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, and the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Headache / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Weakness / etiology*
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging*
  • Young Adult