NNUH Stroke Patients First in Country for Speedy Results
Stroke patients in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital are the first in the country to benefit from a new monitoring system which will help prevent a second stroke occurring.
With information received from the new system the consultants can prescribe medication within two days, preventing further strokes. Previously this process could take several weeks.
“This is an exciting new use of technology to benefit patient care,” said NNUH Stroke Consultant Dr Kneale Metcalf
Monitoring patients for 24 hours after a stroke is very important to see if the patient has an abnormal heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, and would need certain medication.
However, normally the heart monitoring occurs after discharge and involves two extra trips to the hospital for the patient. The results are analysed by a cardiac technician who reports back to the consultant for interpretation.
The consultant then writes a letter to the patients GP saying what drugs need to be prescribed and the patient is called into the surgery and given a prescription.
“This process can take up to two months to sort out medication for Atrial fibrillation which will prevent further strokes” explained Manjari Mull, the integrated stroke services manager.
Under the new system the information is sent straight from the machine electronically to the central server. This information is analysed immediately and a report is sent back to the hospital.
This report has a graph and details regarding the patient’s heart rhythm. As it’s analysed immediately the consultant has the results ready for their ward round next morning and can prescribe the drugs.
“The information can be in the hands of the consultant already the day after the patient is admitted to NNUH.” said Manjari.
Stroke Consultant Dr Kneale Metcalf said “Up to a fifth of strokes are caused by atrial fibrillation. As stroke doctors we look hard for this condition with heart monitoring. Normal practice has been to do a 24 hour rhythm scan about a month after discharge.
New monitoring technology now in place at NNUH means that a patient will be monitored specifically for AF from admission. Early diagnosis will allow early treatment, and will lower the risk of the patient having a further stroke.
This is an exciting new use of technology to benefit patient care, which isn’t currently available in other UK centres”
Manjari explained that the new system has been used successfully in more than 70 hospitals in Germany for a number of years. “It is much better for the patient as they go home with the right drug plus it has improved efficiency and saved time.”
NNUH is the fifth largest combined stroke unit in the country and admits up to 1300 stroke patients each year.