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‘How-to’ guide launched to speed up spread of ‘game-changing’ stroke treatment

A ‘how-to’ guide to help accelerate the spread of ‘game-changing’ mechanical thrombectomy (MT) treatment for acute stroke has been launched by national stroke experts including Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of the Oxford AHSN.

Mechanical Thrombectomy for Acute Ischaemic Stroke: an Implementation Guide for the UK has been developed by Professor Ford and Professors Martin James from Exeter and Phil White from Newcastle. It distills the best available expertise, evidence, analysis and experience into a single definitive volume.

There is overwhelming evidence that MT for the treatment of ischaemic stroke due to large artery occlusion (blockage of one of the major arteries in the brain, causing a severe stroke) is highly effective and could benefit at least one in ten patients admitted to hospital with an acute stroke.

However, implementation of MT across the UK has been limited, with only 1,200 MT procedures in England and Northern Ireland in 2018/19. That represents just 1.4% of all people with acute stroke or one in 71 stroke patients. In Scotland and Wales, there are no services providing this emergency treatment at all.

The NHS Long Term Plan identifies stroke as a clinical priority. It aims to deliver a ten-fold increase in thrombectomy so that 1,600 more people are independent following stroke.

Professor Ford said: “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity with mechanical thrombectomy for acute ischaemic stroke to alter the miserable prognosis for the most devastating form of stroke, with substantial benefits for individuals and for wider health and social care.

“An opportunity such as this calls for visionary and concerted effort to deliver this treatment from all agencies and disciplines involved in stroke care – something that this implementation guide is intended to support.”

Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association, said: “The Stroke Association firmly believes thrombectomy to be a game-changing intervention that could and should act as a catalyst for change and improvement across the whole pathway.

“I hope this new ‘how-to’ guide will provide the evidence and information the NHS needs to help make thrombectomy a routine option for stroke treatment for the benefit of people affected by stroke across the UK.”

  • Download the guide here
  • Mechanical thrombectomy for acute ischaemic stroke: challenges and opportunities – Specialised Commissioning, November 2019 – read the article online here or download Adobe pdf version here.
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