West Midlands is Top Recruiting Region to International Stroke Study That Could ‘Transform Treatment’

30 May 2018

Trusts in the West Midlands recruited the most patients to a major new study funded and supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which found that tranexamic acid (TXA), a drug currently used to treat excessive blood loss from major trauma and childbirth, could transform the treatment of stroke patients.

Six Trusts in the West Midlands recruited 245 of the total 2,325 patients from across the world who took part in the five-year international TICH-2 trial between 2013 and 2018:

  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust
  • The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
  • University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust
  • The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust
  • Wye Valley NHS Trust

Focused on patients who had suffered a stroke as a result of bleeding in the brain (known as an intracerebral haemorrhage), the study showed a reduction in the amount of bleeding on the brain, serious complications and early deaths in the first week, for patients who had received the TXA treatment.

Professor Jeremy Kirk, Clinical Director of the Clinical Research Network West Midlands commented: ‘We are proud of the contribution to this study made by clinicians and patients here in the West Midlands. It will offer hope to many people affected by stroke in our region and beyond.’

Nikola Sprigg, NIHR stroke specialty lead for East Midlands and Professor of Stroke Medicine at the Stroke Trials Unit in the University of Nottingham, led the study. She said: ‘TICH-2 is a significant step in improving treatment for haemorrhagic stroke patients. The study shows that tranexamic acid, a cheap, widely available drug, has the potential to transform treatment and outcomes for stroke patients.

‘The study cements the position of the NIHR and the UK as key players in the world of stroke research. A study of this scale would just not have been possible without support of the NIHR and access to the facilities and staff that were key to delivering the study. Alongside the large stroke centres, the contribution made by the network of smaller sites across the UK has been crucial to the success of TICH-2.’

Around 150,000 people in the UK suffer a stroke every year and 15 percent of these are caused by intracerebral haemorrhage, when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, leading to permanent damage. Intracerebral haemorrhage affects 22,000 people every year.

Whilst all people with acute stroke benefit from treatment on a stroke unit and blood pressure lowering, there is currently no specific treatment for intracerebral haemorrhage. Many people affected will die within a few days and those who do survive are often left with disabilities including difficulty walking and speech problems.