European Stroke Organisation urges Europe to end “stroke care lottery”

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Stroke experts from across Europe gathered in Brussels under the umbrella of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) to call on political leaders to recognise stroke as an EU-wide health priority and end inequalities in access to the current stroke management standards.

According to the ESO, the adoption of mechanical thrombectomy can greatly improve stroke survival rates and outcomes for victims of stroke and alleviate the societal impact. A new survey, conducted by the ESO in association with other European societies, reveals that many patients throughout Europe do not yet have equal access to this highly effective therapy. This partly explains the large disparities among member states regarding stroke survival and remission rates.

In Brussels, representatives from the European Parliament, the European Stroke Organisation, physicians and patients considered how to remove barriers to acute treatment and support EU member states in translating best practices in stroke management into real life.

In an event hosted by MEP Aldo Patriciello and moderated by Prof Valeria Caso, president of the ESO, the findings of the survey were presented at the event by Prof Urs Fischer, the ESO Secretary General.

“We have an opportunity to restructure the pathway for acute stroke and enhance endovascular treatment. It’s a revolution…Don’t forget stroke has significant economic and social implications on survivors, families of stroke victims, and society as a whole,” said Prof. Valeria Caso.

“There are huge inequalities with regard to stroke treatment. All stakeholders across the stroke care chain need to work together to address them. Governments should be aware of just how cost-effective it is to treat stroke more effectively and efficiently”, said Prof Urs Fischer.

Finally, Aldo Patriciello MEP said: “Stroke is a major, pan European, public health concern. We are discussing concrete options to ensure equal access across Europe to quality healthcare. If we improve exchange of best practices, cross-border cooperation and capacity building we can end this stroke care lottery.”

On the back of its visit to Brussels, the ESO has issued a Call to Action which includes five recommendations to policy-makers:

  1. Raise awareness of stroke and innovative stroke treatments
  2. Promote equity of access to innovative stroke treatments
  3. Encourage and facilitate exchange of best practices
  4. Train neurointerventionalists
  5. Support the development and implementation of stroke management strategies.

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