Patient organisation comments
A representative of the Stroke Association commented on the technology.
The representative noted that a 2015 survey done by the Stroke Association found that people who had treatment with mechanical thrombectomy (MT) following a stroke reported a strong positive response to the treatment. Some of the benefits reported included avoiding severe disability, survival and quick recovery. The representative noted that patients with large-vessel occlusions (about 1 in 10 stroke patients) would benefit in particular from this treatment, as well as those unable to have thrombolysis. As MT can be used for longer than some other treatments (for instance, thrombolysis), patients could have access to life-saving treatment for longer. It was also reported that this treatment could prevent and reduce long-term disability in people with severe stroke, thereby reducing dependency on others, as well as increasing quality of life in stroke survivors. Disability following stroke may not only lead to physical and social isolation, but may also lead to people experiencing prejudice.
Some negative aspects of MT were also mentioned, including pain and discomfort, as well as the risk of bleeding during the procedure, and uncertainty about whether disability was caused by the treatment or the stroke.
The representative noted that people from black and minority ethnic groups are at a greater risk of stroke and of experiencing a stroke at a younger age compared to other ethnic backgrounds, as are people from economically deprived areas of the UK. Access to this treatment could, the representative noted, reduce the effect of stroke, reduce disability and help to reduce overall health inequality.
The representative stated that MT cannot happen without the correct clinical pathway being in place and currently a sub-optimal pathway is the norm for a lot of people. For example, many people do not have access to a hyperacute stroke unit and face long delays for vital diagnostic procedures. It was also noted that too many people eligible for thrombolysis are not getting the treatment.