People in the West of Scotland will now have access to a treatment that can pull stroke patients back from 'near death' but is not widely available.

Evidence shows that only 28% of suitable patients in 2021 were offered mechanical thrombectomy.

The treatment, which is suitable for about one in 10 patients, involves using a stent to manually remove large stroke-causing blood clots from the brain, via a catheter placed in the patient's groin.

Thrombectomy can cut hospital stays by several months, allowing some patients to leave hospital the next day, rather than spending months in a rehabilitation unit.

There are currently two services that offer the treatment in Edinburgh and Dundee.

Patients in the West of Scotland will now have access to it at a purpose-built facility in the Institute for Neurological Sciences (INS), at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

It follows a successful pilot at the hospital. 

The Herald:

Dr Wazim Izzath, a consultant neuroradiologist with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and clinical lead for the unit, said the suite was a “major step forward for the treatment of stroke in the West of Scotland”.


Warning over worse outcomes for Scots stroke patients amid alarm over 'dips in care'

'Like the flick of a switch': Sudden stroke left 23-year-old unable to walk or talk 

Health: Snoring increases your stroke risk - five ways to stop 

He added: "Thrombectomy isn’t appropriate for every patient who suffers a stroke, but when we can use it, the procedure can have life-changing results.

“For example, we had a patient who underwent thrombectomy. He was young, in his late 30s, and when he came to us he was suffering severe effects of stroke, including losing the ability to speak and move his right side.

“We performed the procedure, and he was starting to improve, and now he is back to normal without disability and enjoying life with his young family.

"That’s the power of the service we will be able to provide here.

 “Every day we will have 17 staff from a range of specialisms working together to deliver these important procedures.

He added: “Our motto here is ‘Time is Brain’ – meaning the faster we can help patients the better their potential long-term outcomes – and this entire facility is set up in such a way that we can work quickly, with the thrombectomy procedure itself being carried out in as little as half an hour.

“That’s 30 minutes to change someone’s life.”

The Thrombectomy Suite boasts the latest technology - the two machines that are central to the procedure cost £2.4million - alongside an array of supporting equipment.

Today's launch isn’t the end of the story, said Dr Izzath: “While this new suite allows us to manage a significant increase in the number of patients we can see every year, we don’t want to stop here.

"Where there is additional capacity we will exploit that, and as soon as we can we will continue to grow and develop the service, so even more people can be helped.”

NHS England started commissioning the service nationally in 2017 with St George’s University Hospital becoming the first hospital in the UK to have a fully staffed 24/7 service.

Pamela Philp, Lead Nurse at the INS, said: “The word life-changing is used all too often in healthcare, but it’s entirely appropriate when describing the work we’ll be able to do in the thrombectomy suite.

“I have seen patients left with serious, life-limiting issues after a stroke – speech loss, partial paralysis – and all stroke care aims to reduce those effects and give people as far as possible their old life back."