Stroke monitoring system at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is a first for the country
- Credit: Archant
A new monitoring system could dramatically reduce the time it takes for stroke patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to receive vital medication that could prevent further strokes.
It is the first time the system, which has been used in 70 German hospitals for a number of years, had been introduced to the UK.
The hospital said monitoring patients for 24 hours after a stroke is very important to see if the patient has an abnormal heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, and would need certain medication.
However, normally the heart monitoring occurs after discharge and involves two extra trips to the hospital for the patient. The results are analysed by a cardiac technician who reports back to the consultant for interpretation.
The consultant then writes a letter to the patient's GP saying what drugs need to be prescribed and the patient is called into the surgery and given a prescription.
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Manjari Mull, integrated stroke services manager, said: 'This process can take up to two months to sort out medication for atrial fibrillation which will prevent further strokes.'
Under the new system, the information is sent straight from the machine electronically to the central server. This information is analysed immediately and a report is sent back to the hospital.
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This report has a graph and details about the patient's heart rhythm. Because this is analysed immediately, the consultant has the results ready for their ward round next morning, and can prescribe the drugs.
Stroke consultant Dr Kneale Metcalf said: 'Up to a fifth of strokes are caused by atrial fibrillation. As stroke doctors we look hard for this condition with heart monitoring. Normal practice has been to do a 24-hour rhythm scan about a month after discharge.
'New monitoring technology now in place at NNUH means a patient will be monitored specifically for AF from admission. Early diagnosis will allow early treatment, and will lower the risk of the patient having a further stroke.
'This is an exciting new use of technology to benefit patient care, which isn't currently available in other UK centres.'