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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

World Stroke Day: Peak bodies, Boehringer Ingelheim and Stryker advance best practice in stroke treatment

Health Industry Hub | October 30, 2023 |

In a resounding demonstration of its commitment to stroke awareness and prevention, the Boehringer Ingelheim Angels Initiative team celebrated World Stroke Day in Australia on October 29th. The event brought together a coalition of stroke stakeholders, working in tandem to raise awareness and catalyse action on stroke prevention.

Kim Malkin, Angels Initiative Lead for Australia, said “We are excited to share some of the activities that we have been involved with in the lead-up to World Stroke Day – supporting our mission of ensuring that all stroke patients have access to the same level of care in our region, wherever they are, and to continuously improve the quality of care and outcomes for patients.”

The 11th National Quality Improvement workshop was hosted in Melbourne last week. The event celebrated Australian hospitals that have excelled in delivering the highest levels of stroke care, with the presentation of the prestigious World Stroke Organisation (WSO) awards. Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital became the first regional medical facility in Australia to achieve Platinum status.

NSW pioneers stroke care advancement with cutting-edge technology

Key stakeholders in stroke care also united to establish ambitious benchmarks designed to ensure that all Australians have access to world-class stroke treatment. The Stroke Foundation, Stroke Society of Australasia, Australian Stroke Clinical Registry, and the Boehringer Ingelheim’s Angels Initiative combined their wealth of expertise at the National Stroke Targets Roundtable last month. Their collective efforts culminated in the development of a visionary set of objectives that Australian medical facilities aim to achieve by 2030.

These National Stroke Targets 30/60/90 have now received endorsement from national peak bodies and organisations. It is a strategic roadmap that will be complemented by local, state, and national initiatives, all geared towards advancing best-practice, time-critical stroke care. The ultimate goal is to reduce avoidable stroke-related deaths and disabilities, significantly enhancing the quality of life for stroke patients.

Dr Lisa Murphy, CEO of the Stroke Foundation, emphasised the urgency of the situation, stating, “Access to stroke units and median door-to-needle times have not shifted between 2017 and 2022. Australian stroke patients deserve better to improve their chance of survival and reduce their risk of disability after stroke.”

A/Prof Laetitia de Villiers, an Interventional Neuroradiologist from the Gold Coast University Hospital, and Maurice Ben-Mayor, President of Stryker South Pacific, joined Health Industry Hub earlier this year to unveil a white paper titled Access to Mechanical Thrombectomy in Australia. This report casts a spotlight on the current state of patient access to a minimally invasive stroke procedure known as mechanical thrombectomy, where less than 7% of ischaemic stroke patients receive this treatment. It also underscores the critical barriers that must be addressed to ensure equitable access for all stroke patients.

The World Stroke Organisation (WSO) is now issuing a compelling call to action to governments and healthcare systems across the globe. This appeal stems from the recommendations outlined in the new WSO-Lancet Neurology Commission report, which paints a stark picture of the future. The Commission report, compiled through a comprehensive review of survey data, guidelines, and expert interviews, projects a staggering 50% increase in strokes, claiming 9.7 million lives annually by the year 2050.

The magnitude of the issue cannot be overstated. Driven by the rising prevalence of stroke risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes, even among a younger population, the incidence of stroke is surging in young and middle-aged individuals (age <55 years). This alarming trend is contributing to the exponential growth of global costs, projected to reach a staggering US$2.31 trillion by 2050.

“Stroke can happen to anyone, at any time. One in four people globally will have a stroke in their lifetime,” Dr Murphy said. “Someone in every household and workplace in Australia should know the F.A.S.T (Face, Arms, Speech and Time) message. Time is brain. When a stroke strikes, it attacks up to 1.9 million brain cells. Calling triple zero (000) at the first sign of stroke is vital.”

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