More than 250 Victorian stroke victims will receive a world-leading, revolutionary new treatment for stroke this year – nearly doubling their chance of recovery and survival – under an Australian first plan being rolled out by the Andrews Labor Government.
To mark National Stroke Week, Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, today visited the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s ground breaking Endovascular Clot Retrieval (ECR) service.
ECR, where the clot formed during a stroke is “pulled” from the brain with a retrievable stent, has been shown to nearly double stroke recovery and survival outcomes by quickly restoring blood flow to the brain.
Studies show 70 per cent of patients recover from a stroke when treated with ECR, up from 39 per cent. It is now considered the world’s best practice for stroke treatment, and Victoria is leading the way.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital is Australia’s first comprehensive stroke service providing round-the-clock access to clot retrieval for stroke and is now a global leader in ECR stroke treatment and research.
So far in 2016, Royal Melbourne Hospital provided ECR to 139 people and across the state, more than 250 people are expected to access the lifesaving stroke treatment this year.
A state-wide ECR protocol was developed with the Victorian Stroke Clinical Network, metropolitan and regional hospitals, the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Program, Ambulance Victoria and the National Stroke Foundation.
The system-wide approach is making ECR available to as many Victorians as possible in Melbourne and rural Victoria.
The protocol helps all hospitals to quickly identify suitable patients for ECR and transfer them to one of two ECR centres providing around-the-clock service. Monash Medical Centre will become the second state referral centre in 2017.
Victorian hospitals treat more than 14,000 people for stroke and related conditions every year. About one in six people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime. There are more than 110,000 stroke survivors living in Victoria.
For National Stroke Week, 12-18 September, the Stroke Foundation is urging everyone to think FAST when it comes to stroke. FAST is an easy way to recall that if you see someone with face, arms, or speech problems, they could be having a stroke and time is critical.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“Stroke is the biggest cause of death worldwide and a leading cause of disability. It causes more deaths than breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.”
“ECR is remarkable when it comes to treating stroke and improving survival rates. We’re making sure as many people as possible can access the world’s best treatment for stroke, right here in Victoria, when they need it.”
“Time is critical to surviving stroke. Around 94 per cent of Victorians are now just one hour away from life-saving stroke treatment, a rate which is among the best in the world.”
Quotes attributable to Head of the State-wide Endovascular Clot Retrieval Service at The Royal Melbourne Hospital Professor Peter Mitchell
“I am proud to be leading Victoria’s first State-wide Endovascular Clot Retrieval Service.”
“Timely stroke care is critical in helping a patient recover faster and reducing their chance of disability. This new service gives Victorians access to a world-class endovascular clot retrieval service and 24-hour stroke care when they need it most.”
Quotes attributable to Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan
“Stroke Week is about educating the community that speed saves when it comes to stroke.”
“There will be more than 50,000 strokes in Australia this year and sadly many people miss out on accessing life-saving treatment as they don’t get to hospital on time.”
“We want the community to be aware that stroke is always a medical emergency. When you have a stroke, your brain cells start to die at a rate of almost two million per minute.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020