A national strategy for mechanical thrombectomy is needed to improve stroke outcomes for Australians, according to the new White Paper published by health sector stakeholders.
Stryker has led a collaborative effort with stakeholders across the health sector to develop a position paper calling for improved and more equitable access to stroke treatment.
The White Paper: Access to Mechanical Thrombectomy in Australia highlights the gaps preventing stroke victims from accessing a procedure that could save their life or prevent disability.
Acute stroke is both common and catastrophic, as one of the leading causes of death and disability in Australia. The majority of strokes are ischaemic strokes, where a vessel in the brain is blocked by a clot.
Mechanical thrombectomy is a relatively new, minimally invasive procedure to remove the clot from the brain. Researchers and health care professionals have considered this to be the gold-standard treatment for this type of stroke for several years and, if delivered quickly, can dramatically improve outcomes for people suffering an ischaemic stroke1.
The procedure is available in most major cities, but only a fraction of patients who would benefit from this procedure are currently receiving the treatment and there are major inequities in access for patients in rural and regional communities.
To improve access across Australia, a coordinated effort is needed from all stakeholders involved in designing, delivering, and funding stroke treatment. The White Paper recommends that a national advisory committee be established to lead the development of a National Strategy for Mechanical Thrombectomy.
Maurice Ben-Mayor, President of Stryker South Pacific, said the position put forward by the sector on the need for national collaboration is critical for making meaningful improvements in access for patients, particularly those living in rural and regional communities.
“For many patients, having this procedure can mean the difference between lifelong disability and walking out of hospital within a week following a stroke,” he said.
“The health system has all of the components needed to diagnose strokes and deliver patients to the right hospital for treatment, but the pathway from stroke onset to treatment needs to be streamlined because of the time-critical nature of stroke treatment.,”
Mr Ben-Mayor continued: “Every minute counts. For some patients, the nearest hospital capable of delivering this treatment is across state borders or hundreds of kilometers away from home. This is why a national approach is needed – to make sure no one falls through the gaps. With a health system and retrieval services as advanced as Australia’s, having access to stroke treatment shouldn’t depend on where you live.”
“Every day at Stryker we are driven to make healthcare better for patients and caregivers, in Australia and around the world. As a global leader in neurovascular technology, we have a significant role to play in improving outcomes for patients suffering a stroke. It is time for all stakeholders who have a role to play in achieving this vision, including state and federal governments, to come together and solve this complex but critical issue.”
The White Paper: Access to Mechanical Thrombectomy examines the current state of access for patients to mechanical thrombectomy and explores some of the barriers which require dedicated planning and service coordination to overcome. It recommends the development of a national strategy to improve access to this lifesaving treatment and, importantly, calls on the federal government to establish a National Advisory Committee.
“I am very proud of this collaborative White Paper, endorsed by organisations like the Australian Stroke Alliance, Royal Flying Doctors Service and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association who, like Stryker, are committed to improving health outcomes for patients in Australia,” said Mr Ben-Mayor.
To learn more about Stryker’s efforts to improve stroke care, visit: https://www.strykerneurovascular.com/us/about/complete-stroke-care
The White Paper was developed in consultation with leading Australian stroke clinicians and researchers, and endorsed by the following organisations:
Principle partner: Stryker
Contributing partners: Royal Flying Doctor Service, Medtronic, Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association, Australian College of Nurse Practitioners, Neurological Intervention & Imaging Service of Western Australia, The Australian and New Zealand Society of Neuroradiology, Australasian Stroke Academy, Australian Stroke Alliance, Acute Stroke Nurses Education Network ltd.