The UK Stroke Forum 2016 took place 28-30 November at the ACC in Liverpool.
UK Stroke Forum is the largest multidisciplinary stroke event in the UK, attracting over 1,400 delegates from across the stroke care pathway. The event showcases what's hot in the UK stroke community, including the latest research, and how stroke professionals can get involved in research.
How to get involved in stroke research
On the first day, Dr Dale Webb, Director of Research and Information at the Stroke Association, lead a Stroke Research Training Day.
The training day was aimed at health professionals who wanted to get involved in stroke research for the first time, as well as those who had already started in a research career. It combined presentations and expert mentoring by a team of facilitators with the use of ‘action learning’ methodology.
The training day also looked at what it takes to make a successful career in stroke research, explored funding opportunities and resources, good collaboration and learning and covered the critical role that people affected by stroke play in the research process.
Updates from stroke clinical trials included ENCHANTED and AVERT. The Stroke Association funded the UK-arms of both these international trials. The Stroke Association funded TREAT-UI and ReTrain studies also shared their results.
ENCHANTED is a trial that investigated whether a lower dose of the clot-busting drug (alteplase) used in thrombolysis could be as effective and safer than the current standard dose. It also investigated whether intensive blood pressure lowering could reduce the risk of brain bleeds as a result of thrombolysis treatment; work which is being continued with the STAY ENCHANTED study.
UK lead on ENCHANTED, Professor Tom Robinson, presented the latest updates and the main outcomes from the trial, which suggest that the lower dose of alteplase results in fewer serious (including fatal) brain bleeds from treatment within the first week of stroke.
AVERT is a trial that investigated the use of very early, intensive mobilisation of patients after their stroke. UK lead on AVERT, Professor Peter Langhorne, shared the latest updates from the trial, which include the fact that although deaths and serious adverse events were uncommon in AVERT, early deaths were more common with very early mobilisation (VEM) than standard care. The reason for this is not clear, and he urged caution when actively mobilising stroke patients in the first 24 hours.
TREAT-UI is a Stroke Association-funded feasibility study for the adaption of a commonly available, mobile nerve stimulation device (TENS) to treat stroke-related urinary incontinence. Professor Joanne Booth presented the results of the study, which found that the treatment appeared safe and acceptable to stroke survivors with urinary incontinence, and there was evidence for its potential clinical and cost-effectiveness. The results support the feasibility of a larger trial as an intervention self-administered by patients.
ReTrain is a Stroke Association funded pilot study, which investigated the effectiveness of a community-based rehabilitation training programme for people who have been affected by stroke. It is based on the ARNI rehabilitation programme. Professor Sarah Dean presented the results, lessons learned from the study and plans for a larger trial. More details of the trial can be found at the PenCLAHRC website.