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BHF Cymru Welcomes Stroke Research

More needed to prevent and treat condition

British Heart Foundation Cymru has welcomed plans for world-leading stroke research in Wales.
 
The charity says advances Wales has already made in stroke care can be clearly seen by the reduction in deaths from stroke in Wales by 22% between 2010 and 2015.
 
But with an estimated 13 people per day confirmed as experiencing a stroke in Wales - and 66,000 people living in Wales having survived a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack - BHF Cymru warns that more research is urgently needed to find better ways to prevent and treat the disease.
 
The two types of stroke are ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke. 

Ischaemic strokes happen when the artery that supplies blood to the brain is blocked, for example by a blood clot. 

Haemorrhagic strokes happen when a blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain, damaging brain tissue and starving areas of the brain of blood and oxygen.
 
Only one drug, alteplase, is currently approved to treat ischaemic stroke in the UK. 

A new procedure of clot retraction - thrombectomy - is now revolutionising stroke outcomes and is in the process of being embedded in the 24/7 emergency stroke management pathway in many centres including the University Hospital of Wales. 

Research is fundamental to these new developments in the treatment of stroke. 
 
In Wales, BHF Cymru funded researcher Professor Philip James, Associate Dean for Research at the School of Health Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University, has been working with the Stroke Implementation Group (SIG), which was developed to deliver the Welsh Government's five-year strategy on stroke.
 
Together with key members of the SIG Prof James has driven the establishment of a Cross-Wales Stroke Research and Innovation Network which will be hosted by Cardiff Metropolitan University. 
 
Professor James said: "We are delighted to be hosting the cross-Wales Stroke Research and Innovation Network at Cardiff Metropolitan University. 

"Our aim is to create and sustain a collaborative, robust research infrastructure in Wales and help facilitate world-leading research and innovation in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of stroke, thus saving lives and ultimately reducing the debilitating impact on stroke patients". 
 
"The development of this Network with Cardiff Metropolitan University will be announced at the Welsh Stroke Conference in July and to be formally launched in the Autumn. 

"The university is currently recruiting for a Manager that will help co-ordinate and facilitate the network, funded by the Stroke Implementation Group, with the application process currently open.
 
"The aim here is to bring together the isolated pockets of excellent work currently being undertaken at our Universities and Academic Health Boards, to deliver the Stroke Research Strategy in Wales and facilitate a joined up approach to BHF working with other key partners to ensure stroke research in Wales is strategically funded."
 
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said, "There are 66,000 people are living in Wales with the cruel and debilitating after-effects of this devastating disease.
 
"Although some exciting new developments have been made in stroke treatment, the options at our disposal for treating stroke patients are still far too limited".
 
"We urgently need to fund more research to better understand the causes of strokes so that we can prevent them occurring and develop new treatments for all types of stroke, in order to save more lives".
 
Sarah Sheppard's mum Penny suffered a stroke in 2014. Penny, who lives in Magor, was 59 and now suffers from paralysis down one side of her body, memory loss and problems speaking.
 
Sarah said: "My mum had been complaining that she was feeling unwell for a few months, but she wouldn't go to the doctors. It was the 1st of November 2014 and Mum was crying.

"We decided to take Mum to A&E, went through to see the doctor who asked her name. Mum replied and said her name was Sarah, when in fact her name is Penny. Her face started drooping and as soon I saw this, I could tell she was having a stroke.
 
"Mum was very confused with what she was saying, the staff rushed her through and sent her for a brain scan. I could just see her deteriorating, not making any sense.

"The doctors came in and gave us the devastating news - they said that after looking at the brain activity the stroke they could not give her the clot-busting medication, alteplase, which would improve the chances of a full recovery. She was diagnosed with a blood clot in her neck and an ischaemic stroke. Our lives have been turned upside down."
 
 

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