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Specialist stroke centre study looks to improve survivor outcomes

Benefits of patients going directly to specialist thrombectomy centre investigated

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A new study is looking at improving stroke care and outcomes for survivors by investigating the benefits of taking patients directly to a specialist centre. 

The SPEEDY trial hopes to speed up access to critical treatment after stroke, through widening access to thrombectomy. 

Thrombectomy is a highly specialised procedure delivered at specialist sites, and is delivered to patients who have clots blocking the large blood vessels of their brain. 

Currently, when a patient experiences stroke, they are usually taken to their local stroke hospital first, before being taken to specialist thrombectomy centres. 

As part of the SPEEDY trial – carried out by the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) in partnership with Newcastle University – the potential of going straight to a specialist site is being investigated.

The trial is looking to assess more than 500 patients who receive a thrombectomy before evaluating the outcome of the study.

WMAS was the first ambulance service to test out the new pathway where patients are taken directly to thrombectomy centres. Now, North West Ambulance Service now also taking part, and more set to join.

WMAS research paramedic Josh Miller said: “We hope this research will speed up people’s access to the brain-saving treatment.

“We also think it will mean more people can access this treatment – around 10 per cent of stroke patients could be suitable for thrombectomy, but at the moment, only about two per cent receive it.

“If more people receive thrombectomy, more quickly, patients will have better outcomes – returning to life as normal after their stroke.

“It is important to emphasise that nothing changes in terms of what members of the public should do if they think someone is having a stroke. 

“The FAST test remains the right thing to do to monitor symptoms, and if you have any concerns, you should dial 999 immediately”.

Professor Chris Price, from Newcastle University, said: “Thrombectomy greatly improves the chances of recovery but it must be done within the first few hours of a stroke starting and is only possible in hospitals that have suitable facilities and specialists.

“The SPEEDY study is seeing whether ambulance services and thrombectomy hospitals can work together in an emergency to accurately identify patients needing thrombectomy and treat them sooner.”

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