Stroke patients across Teesside and North Yorkshire can now benefit from faster access to the most advanced blood clot removal techniques.
The James Cook University Hospital has expanded its team of neuroradiology consultants to enable it to provide a mechanical thrombectomy service in Middlesbrough five days a week.
A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Most disabling strokes are caused by blood clots which form a large blockage in the artery in the brain.
For the past 15 years stroke patients have been given “clot busting” drugs which are injected into the vein to dissolve the blockage and restore blood flow to the brain. Around one in 10 patients return to independent living after this treatment.
But now more patients at James Cook will be able to have a mechanical thrombectomy which involves inserting a tube (catheter) from the groin to the brain and pulling the clot out.
This leading edge, minimally-invasive, image-guided procedure is has a much higher success rate with up to one in three making a good recovery.
Stroke consultant Adrian Bergin said: “It’s really positive news for patients. Before most patients who were stable enough would go to Newcastle and that inevitably brings a two hour delay and that two hours is critical.
“Because of the delay some patients are not able to have the treatment, which in most cases must be within five to six hours of stroke onset, so this new five day service means more people will be able to have the treatment.”
Neuroradiology consultant Aslam Siddiqui said: “The important thing is to be able to provide this service to as much of the population as we can as quickly as we can – “time is brain” which is why we always remind people to act fast when stroke happens.”
Stroke: Act FAST
Face – has their face drooped to one side?
Arms – do they struggle to lift both arms?
Speech – is their speech slurred?
Time – dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs!