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Stroke patients missing out on vital treatment for brain clots

Thousands of victims missing out not receiving specialist care for brain clots to avoid disability after a stroke.

stroke-patients-missing-out-on-vital-treatment-for-brain-clots | Swain & Co Solicitors

Thousands of stroke victims are feared to be missing out on specialist treatment that can prevent disability after a stroke, following new figures released this week.

The treatment, known as a thrombectomy, or clot retrieval, involves mechanically removing the clots using a catheter technique, with a wire containing a mesh being inserted into a main artery then directed to the clot in the brain. Here, the mesh is used like a fishing net, to grasp and remove the clot.

This intricate operation requires-highly skilled medical professionals, both stroke consultants and specialist nurses, in order to provide the care for patients both during and after the procedure. This effective treatment has the potential to save money for both the NHS and social care, as patients would have reduced needs following the surgery, researchers claim.

Strokes tend to affect those aged 65 and over, usually caused by a clot blocking a major blood vessel to the brain. This interruption of the blood supply can cause paralysis and speech problems, which are more severe the longer the patient waits for treatment. A thrombectomy, the researchers say, could benefit one in 10 people admitted to hospital suffering from a stroke.

The research indicates that only 600 people receive the therapy a year, due to a shortage of established stroke care units and adequately trained staff. A further 9,000 could benefit from the procedure, if the resources were available. Currently most stroke patients rely on clot-busting drugs to dissolve the blockage, later taking anticoagulants in order to minimise the risk of further clots occurring.

Professor Phil White of the University of Newcastle, who worked on the research project, says “Mechanical thrombectomy is a highly effective treatment for acute ischaemic stroke, with eight clinical trials showing a significant reduction in disability after a stroke if it is used immediately in the right patients.”

Basic care on wards was also noted as suffering from a shortage, as well as the continuation of care when patients are discharged. Unfortunately, “too many people feel abandoned after their stroke, as they are not given the right support to begin their rehabilitation”, according to Juliet Bouverie from the Stroke Association.

If you have suffered as a result of poor or absent care from the NHS, we are here to help. Swain and Co Solicitors have an advanced Clinical Negligence department who regularly deal with clients who have received substandard medical treatment. If you, a family member or friend has received substandard medical treatment, contact our team on 02392 483322.

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