New research has found that almost 10,000 UK stroke patients admitted to hospital each year could benefit from a new treatment.
Researchers from Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Oxford Academic Health Science Network (Oxford AHSN) and the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care – South West Peninsula (NIHR PenCLAHRC) carried out the study.
The new mechanical thrombectomy treatment is effective for acute stroke caused by blockage of a large blood vessel from a clot.
Newcastle University Neuroradiology professor Phil White said: “Mechanical thrombectomy is a highly effective treatment for acute ischaemic stroke, with eight clinical trials showing a significant reduction in disability after stroke if it is used immediately in the right patients.
“The challenge is to make this technique more widely available, as current figures suggest that fewer than 600 patients receive this treatment each year in the UK.”
As part of the treatment, a catheter will be inserted into the arm or leg and the clot would be removed from the blood vessel to the brain with the help of a mesh (stent) or suction.
Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital consultant stroke physician Dr Martin James said: “Delivering mechanical thrombectomy to the 9,000 people who need it will require major changes to the configuration and skill sets of existing acute stroke services.
“We must work quickly to establish what needs to be done so that more people in the UK can benefit from a treatment that can dramatically reduce disability after a stroke, as well as cutting associated costs to the NHS and social care.”
Northumbria University Health and Life Sciences faculty Dr Peter McMeekin led the research.
Stroke is a serious, life-threatening condition that can have a devastating impact on patients and their families.