- Chris Morris
- Apr 15, 2017
- 948 Views
NHS England has made the decision to invest millions of pounds in a new stroke treatment that will potentially save thousands of patients from lifelong disability.
The healthcare Organisation has already hailed the new treatment as a game changer for the condition.
Approximately 8,000 patients who suffer from strokes will benefit from a massive expansion in the number of hospitals offering mechanical thrombectomy.
This is delivered to only a few hundred patients annually at present, despite the fact that the effectiveness of the treatment is well-known to be impressive.
Stroke experts have documented the fact that the procedure has delivered remarkable results, with some patients who would otherwise have ended up in a wheelchair able to walk out of hospital no less than 48 hours later.
Juliet Bouverie, the chief executive of the Stroke Association, suggest that the decision by NHS England will be widely welcomed.
“Thrombectomy is a real gamechanger which can save lives and reduce the chances of someone being severely disabled after a stroke. This decision by NHS England could give thousands of critically ill stroke patients an increased chance of making a better recovery. It could also mean more stroke survivors living independently in their own homes, returning to work and taking control of their lives again as a result.”
Patients are to be sedated or under general anaesthetic during the procedure, which must be carried out within six hours of the stroke occurring.
The Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, also proclaimed the wider offering off the treatment to be cause for celebration.
“This major national upgrade to stroke services puts the NHS at the leading edge of stroke care internationally. It’s another practical example of the NHS quietly expanding innovative modern care that will really benefit patients, but which tends to be invisible in the public debate about the NHS.”
By expanding the number of thrombectomies conducted in Britain, Stevens hopes that the NHS can catch up with Germany and France, which undertakes 7,500 and 3,500 operations of the this nature respectively, on an annual basis.
The procedure is rather costly, at around £12,000 per operation, but this will effectively pay for itself, according to experts, with major savings in medical and social care probable.
St George’s in London is currently the only hospital in the UK to offer thrombectomy around the clock every day of the week, but this situation is expected to change once the massive expansion is put into practice.
Dr Jeremy Madigan, a consultant diagnostic and interventional neuroradiologist at St George’s, indicated that patients at the hospital already benefit hugely from this innovative and highly successful treatment.
“Our patients are benefiting from the thrombectomy service we provide, with an 80-90% chance of opening up blocked vessels via this technique, compared to 30% with traditional clot-busting drugs. Providing a thrombectomy service at all times of day, as we do at St George’s, radically improves the range and mix of interventions available to us as clinicians.”
While there are many advantages to this new policy, it is also notable that a significant number of interventional neuroradiologists will need to be recruited in order to deliver it on a 24/7 basis.