Barts Health innovates with stroke care

In November 2020, the mechanical thrombectomy service at Barts Health NHS Trust turned into a 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week service. Since then it has provided around-the-clock procedure support for stroke patients.

The procedure removes the obstructing blood clot from arteries within the brain for certain types of acute stroke and is dependent on what stage the patient presents at hospital.

Barts Health said, “for patients who are suitable, this treatment can entirely remove the effects of the stroke. As a result, the unit is one of the busiest in the country, providing safe and timely care to people across north east London and as far afield as Peterborough, Norwich and Canterbury.”

The team have, to date, performed over 80 procedures. Since moving the service 24/7, the service has supported 25 additional patients a month.

With the support of NHSX, Barts Health is now testing AI to help clinicians increase the speed with which they make decisions for patients with strokes, to determine who will benefit from transferral to a specialist centre.

Dr Paul Bhogal, consultant interventional neuroradiologist said: “We hope through using new technology we will be able to identify even more patients for treatment. In this way we can get the right patient to the right place for the right procedure, as fast as possible.”

Dr Levansri Makalanda, clinical lead for neurovascular services, said: “Since starting the 24/7 mechanical thrombectomy service, Barts Health has rapidly become one of the busiest stroke centres in the UK, helping a significant number of patients throughout the south east. The collaboration with both our clinical colleagues in the region and also medical technology companies has helped us to deliver a world-class service on the background of a pandemic.”

Dr Edward McKintosh, clinical director for neurosciences, added: “Our teams have managed to develop and continually improve the stroke service during the peak of the COVID crisis – it is testament to the dedication of all our doctors, nurses, radiographers, and paramedics involved in delivering this remarkable achievement and I am delighted that our patients have continued to benefit from their hard work throughout the epidemic.”