A study into a new and more effective treatment for acute stroke in England, carried out by researchers from PenCLAHRC with colleagues from Newcastle University, Northumbria University and the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, has been awarded funding of £22,000 from the Stroke Association.
Stroke is a serious, life-threatening and often debilitating condition, which can have a devastating impact on patients and their families. In the UK, nearly 90,000 people a year are admitted to hospital following a stroke, with many of those who survive left severely disabled.
Mechanical clot removal (known as thrombectomy) can substantially reduce disability, if carried out within six hours of the onset of symptoms. However, only a tiny minority of the thousands of people admitted to hospital following a stroke each year who are eligible for this procedure receive it.
Mechanical thrombectomy is a more effective treatment than clot-busting drugs alone for acute stroke caused by blockage of a large blood vessel. This treatment involves a specialist inserting a catheter into the arm or leg and removing the clot from the blood vessel to the brain using a mesh (stent) or suction.
Initial research findings, presented at the 2016 UK Stroke Association Forum, showed that as many as one in ten stroke patients admitted to hospital - around 10,000 patients each year - could benefit from this revolutionary treatment. Currently very few UK hospitals have enough specialists or the necessary support teams to provide mechanical thrombectomy 24 hours a day.
Dr Martin James, Consultant Stroke Physician at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and a researcher with PenCLAHRC, said:
“This new thrombectomy treatment for acute stroke has great potential to reduce the number of people left disabled by a major stroke. This project, funded by the UK’s leading stroke charity the Stroke Association, is aimed at ensuring that the treatment is made available to as many people as possible and as quickly as possible in all parts of the country, particularly where access to the treatment may be difficult because of distance or where there is no thrombectomy service available at the moment.
We plan to publish our findings and recommendations to NHS England and to the Stroke Association in the autumn to help to speed up the roll-out of this treatment right across the country.”
You can also read PenCLAHRC Deputy Director Professor Ken Stein sharing his perspective on the collaboration’s work to improve stroke care in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, in an article for the Western Morning News.