Making gains in stroke recovery

Darshan Ghia stands in a hospital corridor
Clinical Associate Professor Darshan Ghia
August 25, 2020

Today’s stroke patients have immediate access to advanced medical treatment and rehabilitation, but there are big gaps in knowledge that researchers like Clinical Associate Professor Darshan Ghia are hoping to fill.

As Head of the Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) Stroke Unit, consultant neurologist Dr Ghia is leading ongoing research in a bid to improve recovery after stroke – one of the three top causes of disability.

“We have come a long way thanks to the implementation of 24/7 endovascular clot retrieval services and improvements in secondary prevention, but still stroke care is one area of medicine that has a particularly large evidence-to-practice gap worldwide,” Dr Ghia said.

Dr Ghia and colleagues are working with other organisations, including St John Ambulance, to apply and test pre-hospital scoring methods used to determine whether stroke has occurred due to large artery involvement in which case they will be taken straight to an endovascular treatment capable centre.

A study into the RACE (Rapid Arterial Occlusion Evaluation) scoring method was completed two years ago and results are now being tested on groups of inpatients and outpatients.

The work has already led to improvements in the way patients are triaged by St John Ambulance and in the Emergency Department thereby improving their overall outcomes.

The FSH Stroke Unit has also been part of other projects looking into the role of left atrial enlargement and atrial fibrillation prediction, while being a part of various multi-centre national and international trials.

“We are also participating in nursing and allied health studies, as well as WA’s own study into Aboriginal people dealing with neurological injury - Healing the Right Way,” Dr Ghia said.

Doctor Ghia is chairing the 2021 Stroke Society of Australasia Conference being held in Perth in July and working to help establish a WA stroke research network.

Read more about research conducted across South Metropolitan Health Service in its 2019 Research Report (external PDF 4.1MB).

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