Evaluating diagnostics to help with the emergency care of patients with a suspected stroke
We are collaborating with the Newcastle University Stroke Research Group to examine diagnostics that may improve the emergency care of patients with a suspected stroke.
There are around 100,000 strokes every year in the UK; that is one every five minutes. Treating patients with strokes quickly in specialist units is critical to improving recovery. However, there are many other conditions that produce the same symptoms, such as migraine and epilepsy. Around 40% of patients initially suspected as having a stroke by paramedics are later given a different diagnosis. Treatments for certain severe strokes are available only in a limited number of regional specialist stroke centres. This leads to some patients receiving treatment late, or not at all, when compared to patients who live near to a regional centre.
We have built a strong relationship with the Newcastle University Stroke Research Group. Together we are evaluating diagnostics that have the potential to improve the emergency care of patients with a suspected stroke.
We are continuing our commitment to training by supervising a PhD student. Her project, which is funded by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North East North Cumbria, is examining whether diagnosis of stroke can be improved by combining patient information that is routinely collected with newly discovered measures.
We are also supporting POCKiT Diagnostics who have identified a set of measures that can detect severe stroke. We helped them secure £95,000 from the Small Business Research Initiative Healthcare to develop the measures into a portable test. We will provide health economic and statistical expertise.
- It is estimated that POCKiT Diagnostics’ portable test could save the NHS £2 billion annually.
- Potentially the test could allow direct ambulance transfer of patients to regional hospitals for significantly faster specialist treatment, thereby improving their recovery.
- The PhD project has the potential to ensure that patients with different types of strokes have quicker access to the most appropriate emergency treatment.
- The methods developed during the PhD project will also enhance our expertise in evaluating computer-based algorithms that are being developed to help diagnose other conditions as well.