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Leading thrombectomy training

21 June 2017

Health Care

Last month it was announced by NHS England that millions of pounds would be invested to perform mechanical clot removal (thrombectomies) in stroke patients.

Thrombectomy is a cath lab-based technique where a blood clot is directly removed from the brains arteries. A small tube, like a vacuum cleaner, is guided to the brain via the groin and then literally sucks out the clot, clearing the blockage so that blood can once again reach the brain's cells.

Southend University Hospital has been delivering this service since 2013 under the guidance of Interventional Neuroradiologist, Professor Iris Grunwald, Deputy Medical Director at the Trust and Director of Neuroscience and Vascular Simulation at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and author of the book "How to set up an acute stroke service".

Southend was the first District General Hospital in the UK to set up such a service from scratch. Dedicated training in ARU's high-end virtual reality simulation facilities and close collaboration between Southend's innovative health care professionals from a variety of specialities allowed a multidisciplinary team approach, specifically with Cardiology and Radiology, sharing resources and staff.

Southend's team training strategy now helps address the growing need for interventional services and the training demand outlined in the NHS England announcement.

Professor Grunwald said: "Stroke simulators are very expensive and scarce across Europe. We are lucky to have access to ARU's multimillion pound simulation facilities and are the only site in the UK to offer such specialised thrombectomy courses, in cooperation with the World Federation for Interventional Stroke Treatment."

Training is already being delivered to delegates from across the world including Trinidad, Turkey, Czech Republic, China and Germany.

Trainees come to the UK to learn from Southend's experience and the team lecture at leading conferences such as ICCA-Stroke, the European Stroke Organisation, the European Congress of Radiology and the European Stroke Congress.

Professor Grunwald added: "We are one step ahead of the announcement, already treating patients in the wider area, this has such a positive impact on patients' lives."

The spotlight on this investment is positive news for Southend, Basildon and Mid Essex Hospitals working together more closely as a group, giving quick access totreatment for the 1.2 million Essex patients the hospitals cover.

 

Image: Professor Grunwald (left) in the ARU simulation suite