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International stroke trial results could transform healthcare

International stroke trial results could transform healthcare

A south London Clinical Research Coordinator believes that results from an international stroke trial could help to save lives and transform patient care.

Researchers are investigating on the SWIFT-Direct trial whether patients who experience a stroke, caused by a blockage in one of the major arteries in the brain, can be treated with thrombectomy alone, compared to those receiving the clot-busting treatment thrombolysis alongside thrombectomy.

Thrombectomy is a surgical procedure to remove blood clots in vessels blocking blood flow to the brain and restore blood flow to the affected area.

Clinical Research Coordinator in Stroke Rebecca Williams, who works for St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We are working on something which could help to change how we treat stroke patients not only in the UK but around the world. This is the first international thrombectomy trial in the UK and St George’s is the national coordinating centre for SWIFT-Direct trial, which is a source of great pride for the entire team.

“The trial opened at the hospital in September of last year and we recruited our first patients in December. We are the highest recruiters to stroke research in south London and that is because of the camaraderie we have as a research team and our excellent relationships with the stroke doctors and nurses.”

The St George’s Hyper Acute Stroke Unit treats over 1,200 patients each year. Research coordinators in the stroke specialty work closely with the doctors and nurses who are treating patients in the Emergency Department to maximise recruitment to the trial and to minimise any delays in treatment.

There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year. That is around one stroke every five minutes. It is estimated that over 1.2 million people have survived a stroke in this country.

CRN South London’s Specialty Research Lead for Stroke Dr Ajay Bhalla, who is a Consultant Physician in stroke, elderly care and general medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “St George’s is the national coordinating centre for the SWIFT-Direct trial, which is a tremendous accolade for the organisation. This achievement highlights the stroke research team’s expertise and track record in delivering vital stroke studies, which has continued even in the midst of a global pandemic.”

You can find out more about the SWIFT-Direct trial online.