Cutting edge software that uses artificial intelligence technology to assess the severity of a stroke is now being used across Sussex to improve the way people who have suffered strokes are diagnosed and treated.
The Sussex Integrated Stroke Delivery Network (ISDN) has begun the roll out of the 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 and at hospitals that make up University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (UHSussex); Worthing, St. Richards in Chichester and the Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH) in Brighton.
The technology allows stroke teams to make clinical decisions wherever they are by taking a scan of the brain that can be immediately transferred to a clinicians phone, tablet or computer.
For example, it connects the team in Worthing to colleagues at RSCH to rapidly review clinical information to decide whether patient transfer to the specialist mechanical thrombectomy centre in Brighton is required.
Dr Ingrid Kane, Consultant Stroke Physician at UHSussex, 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 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 software across the region will support the highly specialised 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.”
Carol Wilson can vouch for the value of the AI software – it may have saved her life.
On the morning of June 7th this year, Carol woke up with a cramp in her calf – and within a couple of hours 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 6.30 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 using the technology 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, said: “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.”
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.”