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Publication date: Thursday 17 October 2018

The European Stroke Organisation Conference (ESOC) 2018 is currently taking place between 16-18 May in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The second day of ESOC highlighted the value of collaborations between professional societies and patient representatives for the advancement of stroke care.

Stroke Action Plan for Europe (2018-2030)

Building on the preceding Helsingborg Declarations of 1995 and 2006, the Stroke Action Plan for Europe was launched today at ESOC 2018. It creates an aspirational framework to drive healthcare policy, research priorities, local stroke management and patient-focused care to meet the need identified in the ESO/SAFE (Stroke Alliance For Europe) Burden of Stroke report.

The Stroke Action Plan for Europe is a major collaborative initiative between the principal professional and patient organisations setting ambitious targets for stroke care over the next decade:

  • to reduce the absolute number of strokes in Europe by 10%
  • to treat 90% or more of all patients in a dedicated stroke unit
  • to create national plans for stroke encompassing the entire chain of care
  • to implement national strategies to reduce the risk of stroke throughout the population

Stroke Action Plan Co-chair and President of SAFE, Jon Barrick, said:

“With this great collaboration we are trying to make sure more attention is paid to the whole stroke care pathway. For instance, after a stroke has occurred, rehabilitation should be looked at more closely, as well as the financial impact of stroke.”  He concluded that, “It is clear that there are going to be more strokes and it is also clear that a life saved also needs to be a life lived.”

The Stroke Action Plan will be presented to the European Parliament next week (23 May 2018) by ESO President Elect, Prof Bart van der Worp, and SAFE President, Jon Barrick.

Joint meetings and collaborations to advance stroke care and reduce stroke burden worldwide

ESO-EAST (European Stroke Organisation – Enhancing and Accelerating Stroke Treatment) participants met to discuss the progress and impact of the ESO-EAST programme. ESO-EAST is the first comprehensive programme of improving stroke care in Europe, initiated by ESO and implemented in Eastern European countries through participation of stroke professionals, professional organisations and local authorities in these countries. This will help to meet the marked differences in incidence and delivery of stroke care between countries across Europe.

ESO and the World Stroke Organisation (WSO) met to consider the Global Perspective on Stroke, how stroke rates and causes vary across the world and what the challenges are that need to be faced to tackle world-wide disparities in stroke care. Critical issues that were discussed included the challenges of primary prevention across the world, the high burden of stroke in Latin America and the increase in rates of stroke associated with chronic infection with HIV.

In attendance was Sarah Belson, International Development Manager at the World Stroke Organisation and Stroke Association (UK), who said:

“In this session, we heard from Professor Peter Sandercock. In his talk, Primary Prevention of Stroke: A Global Challenge, he stressed the urgent need for global action to address the economic and global health burden of non-communicable diseases including stroke.

“We also heard about the ‘The Challenges to Functional Recovery After Stroke in Sub Saharan Africa’, from Dr Alan Bryer, who concluded that the expansion of existing in-patient facilities in the region is unrealistic, but there is much scope for community and home-based training focused on stroke. This emphasises the important role of stroke support organisations in this context, many of whom are already engaged in training care givers.”

ESO and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) held a joint session to discuss the potential benefits of new treatment strategies targeting the close relationship between the heart and the brain in patients with stroke – from the effects of stroke on the heart, to the effects of new treatments including left atrial appendage closure, detection of atrial fibrillation by new monitoring approaches and closure of a patent foramen ovale, a treatment shown to be effective in the seminal trials presented at ESOC 2017 (CLOSE and Gore-REDUCE), with the potential to reduce recurrent strokes for thousands of young patients with stroke world-wide.

Watch the interview with the key leaders of the Stroke Action Plan for Europe from ESOC 2018