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News - RD&E stroke service at the forefront of a research study

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RD&E stroke service at the forefront of a research study

 

Our stroke service has been at the forefront of a research study to reduce the time it takes for patients to receive vital clot-busting treatment. Dr Martin James, RD&E Consultant Physician and Lead Clinician for Stroke said: “This is a great example of NHS collaboration with university academic researchers to improve patient care. Using computer simulation has enabled us to identify and unblock the bottlenecks in getting the treatment to patients much more quickly than we could in the past.”

 

Dr Martin James

Dr Martin James, RD&E Consultant Physician and Lead Clinician for Stroke

on the acute stroke unit

 

The study is investigating the whole process of emergency treatment that follows when a person suffers an acute stroke from a blocked artery in the brain. For most patients in this situation, the earliest possible administration (thrombolysis) of a clot-busting drug can greatly improve their chances of recovery. The drug is currently licensed for delivery up to three hours from the onset of a stroke, but in that time the patient needs to call an ambulance, get to hospital, have a brain scan, and be assessed by specialists before receiving the treatment.

 

Our acute stroke team, radiology department and Emergency Department colleagues have been working with researchers on this from the University of Exeter, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD), and the ambulance service.

 

By looking at what happens ‘on the ground’, researchers have been able to create computer simulations that imitate the various permutations of stroke victim identification, transport, arrival at hospital and treatment. Analysis of over 1,400 episodes of care has enabled them to identify the bottlenecks in the system, and take steps to speed up the process of emergency care which can lead to earlier clot-busting treatment.  The researchers estimate that the number of people whose stroke could be greatly improved by earlier treatment could treble.

 

The research team is currently working on a thorough evaluation of the pilot scheme.

 

Dr James said the simulation can accomplish in an afternoon what used to take months or even years of trial and error so research findings can be applied to patient care much quicker and reduce the misery of disability after a stroke.

 

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