Artificial intelligence to help stroke patients in Sussex

E-stroke software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology is now being used across Sussex to improve the way people are diagnosed and treated.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 9:05 am

The Sussex Integrated Stroke Delivery Network (ISDN) has begun the roll out of an e-stroke software and mobile app that allows stroke teams to easily share scanned images to support rapid diagnoses, clinical decisions and treatment.

The software is being used across the ISDN, at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals in Eastbourne and Hastings and at hospitals that make up University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust in Worthing, Chichester and Brighton.

A spokesperson from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “The technology allows stroke teams to make clinical decisions wherever they are. For example, it connects the team in Eastbourne and Hastings to colleagues at Brighton to rapidly review clinical information to decide whether patient transfer to the specialist mechanical thrombectomy centre in Brighton is required.”

L-R, Professor Nik Patel and Dr Ingrid Kane. Picture from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust SUS-210609-160500001

A thrombectomy is the procedure of removing a blood clot which helps restore blood flow to the brain.

Dr Ingrid Kane, consultant stroke physician at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, said, “This is a ground-breaking artificial intelligence decision support tool that will promote safer, more effective hyper-acute stroke care in Sussex.

“At a local level this decision support tool will help us to speed up diagnosis and therefore patient care in a simple and safe way.

“From a Sussex perspective the implementation of the Brainomix software across the region will support the highly specialized thrombectomy pathway, facilitating the timely transfer of those eligible for treatment to the specialist hubs.

“For both patients and clinicians having access to this support, no matter where they live in Sussex, is a real step forward for stroke care.”

Professor Nik Patel, consultant cardiologist and cardiovascular director at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are pleased that we are at the forefront of artificial intelligence technology for our patients. This is an excellent example of the multidisciplinary and inter-hospital collaboration across our stroke network.

“This technology will allow the management of stroke to be more accessible, fast and of the highest quality. We now have managed to experience the benefits of this technology and Carol is a great example of its success.”

On the morning of June 7 this year, Carol Wilson woke up with a cramp in her calf - within a couple of hours she had been diagnosed with a blood clot on the brain and was having it removed in theatre at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Carol, a teaching assistant, said, “I woke up as normal at 6.30am and I had a terrible cramp in my calf. I rolled over to get rid of it and fell out of bed. I couldn’t move, couldn’t get up and then I suddenly had a really bad headache. I knew something was wrong. I said to my husband, ‘I’m having a stroke.’

“An ambulance arrived within minutes and I was whisked off to hospital. As soon as I was there they did a brain scan and a blood clot on the brain was diagnosed. I was straight into theatre and a thrombectomy was performed. I was awake throughout it. It was pretty scary.

“The blood clot was removed and within a few hours I was having a cup of tea and biscuit on the ward and within two days I was back home.”

Carol, 49 and a grandmother, added, “It’s truly amazing what new technology can do. They say time is so important in stroke cases. Everything happened so quickly and I just feel so, so lucky.

“I am so thankful for the care I received. I am back working, looking after my grandson again and back going to the gym again – absolutely back to normal.”