Lack of neuroradiologists prompts ESC to make plea for stroke treatment

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Council on Stroke has asked national health authorities to permit interventional cardiologists to give mechanical thrombectomy to acute ischemic stroke patients in regions with a shortage of interventional neuroradiologists.

Mechanical thrombectomy is currently performed in Europe by interventional neuroradiologists, but there is a severe lack of these specialists, according to the ESC. Even in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, the interventional neuroradiologists are able to treat only approximately one-third of acute ischemic stroke patients, the society said. Furthermore, less than 1% of acute ischemic stroke patients can be treated in some other countries, according to the ESC.

In a presentation today at EuroPCR 2018 in Paris, the ESC Council on Stroke and the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions proposed that interventional cardiologists receive three months of training to perform mechanical thrombectomy, rather than the typical two years required for other physicians. There is evidence that interventional cardiologists -- after a short period of training on the procedure -- achieve the same results treating acute ischemic stroke as interventional neuroradiologists, said ESC Council on Stroke Chair Dr. Petr Widimsky.

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