A pioneering service providing treatment to remove blood clots in patients who have had a stroke has been introduced at Ninewells Hospital.
NHS Tayside has received funding from the Scottish Government to carry out a pilot of a mechanical thrombectomy service, which will be the first-of-its-kind in Scotland.
The initial pilot will see 20 Tayside stroke patients undergo thrombectomy at the hospital. It will then be rolled out to patients from the other NHS boards across the North of Scotland, with the aim of providing a 24-hour, seven days a week service by April 2023.
The Dundee service will be part of a national network of three regional centres along with Glasgow and Edinburgh, which will provide thrombectomy for the West and East of Scotland regions.
Thrombectomy is a minimally invasive procedure in which blood clots are physically removed from blocked arteries in the brain.
It will be performed in NHS Tayside by interventional radiologists, supported by radiographers and the radiology nursing team.
‘The best possible treatment’
NHS Tayside Chief Executive Grant Archibald said: “I am delighted that NHS Tayside is now able to provide a thrombectomy service. This highly effective treatment will be of great benefit to stroke patients across Tayside and beyond.
“Our stroke teams have worked hard to redesign their services over the past 18 months and have already delivered significant improvements for patients.
“The launch of this new and innovative service is another step in making sure that we can offer the best possible treatment and outcomes for people who have a stroke.”
Honorary consultant interventional radiologist Professor Graeme Houston, who leads the North of Scotland thrombectomy service, said: “The launch of the new thrombectomy service at Ninewells is the result of a huge amount of work over the past year to develop the service and train our staff to provide this life-changing treatment.”
The new thrombectomy service is among a number of recent improvements to stroke services in Tayside.
A new dedicated Tayside-wide acute stroke unit was created at Ninewells last year, which means that patients from across the region now have 24/7 input from stroke specialists and earlier access to specialist treatment.
Andrea Cail, Director Scotland for the Stroke Association, said: “Thrombectomy is a game-changing treatment, and it is good to finally have it available in Scotland.”
A demonstration of the procedure can be viewed here: