- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
The Chair of the National Assembly’s Cross Party Group on Stroke visited the University Hospital of Wales on Monday (17 February). During her visit she saw some of the developments that are revolutionising acute stroke services in the Wales capital and was privileged to meet a 20 year old man who had undergone brain saving surgery following his stroke.
Joyce Watson AM for Mid and West Wales met Dr Shakeel Ahmad a consultant in Stroke Medicine, Amanda Reed the Acute Stroke Care Co-ordinator and their colleague Dr Yogish Joshi, a Neurological Radiologist to learn more about some of the new stroke interventions that are being carried out within the Health Board, especially with regard to clot retrieval.
“We were delighted that Dr Ahmad could come to the last Cross Party Group meeting in January to update us on how the Cardiff and Vale Health Board are delivering aspects of the new NHS Stroke Delivery Plan.
“I was particularly interested to hear about some of the developments in procedures around mechanical clot retrieval and the promising outcomes experienced by patients who have been found eligible for this treatment. It is incredibly timely that we were able to meet with a young man who had benefited from this treatment during our visit”.
The twenty year old man from Shrewsbury had been visiting a friend in Cardiff when he had his stroke last Friday morning. His friend recognised the symptoms of stroke and dialled 999 immediately.
This fact action and the response by clinicians working in Cardiff and the Vale Health board meant he was eligible for clot retrieval and the occlusion was removed from the artery supplying blood to his brain. During the visit, the patient showed no after effects of stroke and told Joyce Watson that he felt no different to before he had his stroke.
Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board have been carrying out round the clock thrombolytic therapy on stroke patients for some time now and this procedure takes things a step further for those whose clots are large and are causing large scale damage to the brain.
Dr Shakeel Ahmad said:
“Clot retrieval is an exciting pioneering treatment. We have treated over 35 patients, with many of them having made an excellent recovery. We are now participating in a UK national trial to evaluate it’s effect. Currently, approximately 20 centres in the UK offer this treatment and we are one of them here in Wales’’
Lowri Griffiths, Head of External Affairs at the Stroke Association in Wales said:
“Gone are the days when people have a stroke and are written off with a heavy sigh and told that there is nothing to be done about their condition. Acute stroke services are fast paced and here we see clinicians Cardiff and the Vale innovating and carrying out brain saving surgery on those who might otherwise be told they will never walk or talk again.
“This is a fantastic progressive intervention and we are really excited to see how things develop in this field and we are delighted for the gentleman who was kind enough to share his experience with us during our visit on Monday.”
Cardiff and the Vale Health Board serves a population of almost half a million. Each year approximately 600 strokes will occur, that is around 50 each month. Only a handful of patients are currently eligible for clot retrieval.
Joyce Watson concluded:
“The message that time is brain has never been as important as it is now when so much more can be done to lessen the impact of stroke. It is imperative that family and friends act quickly and dial 999 when a stroke is suspected”.