Monash researchers making their mark in stroke

Monash University researchers are paving the way in stroke innovation after being awarded $100,000 in Stroke Foundation seed grants.

Monash University researchers are paving the way in stroke innovation after being awarded $100,000 in Stroke Foundation seed grants.

Dr Monique Kilkenny and Professor Dominique Cadilhac, from the Stroke and Ageing group within the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, will benefit from the 2018 grants round as they strive to improve diagnosis, treatment and long-term prevention care for survivors of stroke.

Dr Kilkenny’s research will look at the long term use of medications prescribed to stroke survivors to reduce their chance of subsequent stroke.

In a first for Australia, she will use data from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry linked to national pharmacy data to describe patterns of medication use that is subsidised by the Australian Government.

“During the first 10 years after a stroke there is a 43 percent risk of a person experiencing another stroke, and generally these are more severe. Several types of medications have been shown to prevent strokes within this high risk population,” Dr Kilkenny said.

“It is essential these medications are taken as prescribed on an ongoing basis. This grant will allow us to understand whether patients continue to take prescribed medications, such as those for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, after they leave hospital and in the long-term and what impact these actions have on health.”

While Professor Cadilhac’s project will look at how our ambulances and hospitals respond to suspected stroke events and how diagnosis and access to time-critical treatment can be improved. The research will utilise data that will for the first time be linked from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry and Ambulance Victoria.

“Diagnosis of acute stroke is complex” Professor Cadilhac said.

“In Australia, not all patients with stroke are admitted to hospitals within the required time frames for time-critical treatments.”

“Through this work we will learn more about the pre-hospital factors which influence the identification of a stroke and the impact of this on the patient’s timely arrival at hospital. The outcome may have important implications for practice or policy,” she said.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said these projects had the potential to make a real difference for patients with stroke, from detection to long term care.

“Tragically, it’s estimated there will be more than 56,000 strokes across the country in 2018 – that’s one every nine minutes,” Ms McGowan said.

“Too many Australians are dying or being left with an ongoing disability as a result of stroke, but it does not need to be this way.

“High quality evidence-based research like this is so important in our mission to prevent, treat and beat this terrible disease and reduce the spiraling costs to the community and health system associated with stroke.

Researchers like Dr Monique Kilkenny and Professor Dominique Cadilhac give us hope for the future,” she said.