Published: Tuesday 16 May 2017

The European Stroke Organisation Conference (ESOC) 2017 is currently on from 16-18 May in Prague, Czech Republic.

The first day of ESOC included some truly inspiring scientific sessions and saw the launch of the Action Plan for Stroke in Europe 2018-2030.  Professor Joanna Wardlaw of the University of Edinburgh, and an expert in stroke and small vessel disease research, also won the ESO presidential award for her outstanding contribution to stroke research.

The DAWN study

Mechanical thrombectomy is the removal of a stroke-causing clot from the brain with mechanical devices.

Key trials reporting their findings included the DAWN study. The study found that in patients with severe strokes, mechanical thrombectomy between six and 24 hours from when the symptoms started may significantly prevent disability. The randomised controlled trial of 206 stroke patients found that 90 days after stroke, 49% of patients who received mechanical thrombectomy had a good outcome, compared to only 13% of patients who only received standard medical treatment alone. This meant that the number of patients needed to be treated to see a good outcome was only two patients - a very big benefit.

This is a very important finding because previous trials have already shown the effectiveness of mechanical thrombectomy in patients within six hours of having a serious stroke. The UK government have now committed to increasing the provision of thrombectomy in the UK. This new evidence supporting the benefit of mechanical thrombectomy after the six-hour window could help lead to many more people making a good recovery after stroke.

Watch the interview with the DAWN study lead researchers.

Other research highlights

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is a type of hole in the heart and can lead to a clot from the heart travelling to the brain, causing a stroke.

The CLOSE and GORE-REDUCE studies both suggest that PFO closure significantly reduces recurrent stroke in younger adults with cryptogenic stroke.

Watch the interviews with the CLOSE and GORE-REDUCE lead researchers.

Thrombolysis is the emergency treatment of stroke using clot-busting drugs. The NOR-TEST study suggested there was no significant difference in functional outcomes between acute stroke patients who received standard of care thrombolysis using the drug alteplase, and those who received thrombolysis with a drug called tenecteplase.

Watch the interview with the NOR-TEST study lead researcher.

The ASTER study suggests that there are no significant differences between mechanical thrombectomy with either the contact aspiration method versus the stent retriever method but this does not show the equivalence of the methods.

Watch the interview with the ASTER study lead researcher.

Further highlights

Launch of the Action Plan for Stroke in Europe 2018-2030, ESO-SAFE Memorandum of Understanding and Burden of Stroke Report

The Memorandum of Understanding between the European Stroke Organisation and the Stroke Alliance for Europe, cements a partnership between the leading European professional and patient organisations. The first act was to launch the Burden of Stroke Report, providing the most accurate, up-to-date record of the incidence, prevalence and outcomes of stroke as well as a report on policy, healthcare infrastructure, service provision and quality related to stroke treatment.

These initiatives are important steps in the development of the Action Plan for Stroke in Europe 2018 to 2030. This will guide European Union policy on research and management of stroke for the next decade.

A video will be available from 5pm on Wednesday 17 May 2017.

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