The vast majority of strokes - 85% to be exact - are what is known as ischaemic. Ischaemic strokes are caused by a blood clot blocking an artery in the brain, depriving the brain of its blood supply. For as long as it remains in place, the clot causes brain tissue to die. This form of stroke affects tens of thousands of people in the UK every year. That’s why back in 2011 we awarded a research grant to Professor Keith Muir at the University of Glasgow, to fund a project into the effectiveness of a new treatment called thrombectomy.
What is thrombectomy?
Thrombectomy involves inserting a catheter into an artery, through which a mechanical device can be fed up to the brain to remove the clot. The quicker the treatment can be applied, the more brain tissue can be saved. The impact can be life-saving, and also helps to reduce the threat of serious long-term health implications such as blindness, physical disability or aphasia. This greatly increases stroke survivors’ chances of being able to make a full recovery, and can save the NHS thousands of pounds per stroke patient. Research into the treatment had been conducted in the US and Italy previously, but Professor Muir’s project was the first to seek evidence for thrombectomy’s effectiveness in the UK. More information about the project can be found here.
Just two years after the end of Professor Muir’s project, NHS England committed to rolling out thrombectomy across the nation. The treatment is saving thousands of lives, and leading to stronger and better recoveries for stroke survivors.