Professor Peter Mitchell
22 May 2017
News Category: 

Australian medical researchers are at the forefront of an international stroke research study that will reduce disability and have more people return home.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital was the only Australian hospital to take part in an international randomised control trial known as DAWN*. The trial results extended the window of endovascular clot retrieval (ECR) treatment time for eligible patients from zero to six hours, to six – 24 hours after stroke onset.

The RMH’s Neurointerventionalists, Associate Professor Bernard Yan, and Professor Peter Mitchell, also Head of the Statewide Endovascular Clot Retrieval (ECR) Service at The RMH, were investigators in the study, which is now set to change the way stroke is treated worldwide.

“In treating stroke it is critically important to restore blood flow as soon as possible,” Professor Mitchell said.

“We have evidence for a six hour window from the time of the stroke onset to perform ECR. However, after that time it was considered potentially unsafe to perform endovascular treatment as the risks were too high.

“The results from DAWN have shown that we are now able to provide ECR to select patients up to 24-hours after their stroke, dramatically reducing the chances of permanent disability, and allowing more patients to return home.”

The results showed that almost half of the eligible patients (48.6 percent) were three times more likely to be independent or completely recovered with ECR than the patients who received best medical treatment but no ECR (13.1 percent).

The most common form of stroke is an ischemic stroke, caused by a clot blocking a blood vessel that supplies the brain. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in adults and the number two cause of death worldwide.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital treats approximately 800 acute stroke patients a year and is one of the few stroke centres in the world to treat patients within 20 minutes of arriving in the emergency department.

*DAWN – Clinical Mismatch in the Triage of Wake UP and Late Presenting Strokes Undergoing Neurointervention with Trevo.

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