Medical groups urge endovascular training for stroke

2018 09 25 19 07 0563 Stent 400

Multiple interventional radiology societies have committed to providing necessary stroke training to interventional radiologists to alleviate the shortage of physicians trained in endovascular stroke therapies.

In a joint global position statement, the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR), the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE), and the Interventional Radiology Society of Australasia (IRSA) said they are seeking better training for interventional radiologists to evaluate and treat stroke patients.

The ability for patients to access thrombectomy-capable stroke centers remains stymied by geography and a shortage of interventional physicians, despite the recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) and multiple international stroke organizations that endovascular thrombectomy be the standard of care for patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke caused by blocked arteries.

Patients should be treated locally rather than having long transfer delays, the groups said.

"Appropriately trained interventional radiologists can evaluate stroke patients and provide emergent endovascular thrombectomy with good outcomes ... especially where neurointerventional physicians are not available," according to the statement.

In addition, interventional radiologists can help provide 24/7 care in partnership with neurointerventional physicians where they are available. Allowing interventional radiologists to join neurointerventional and neurosurgeon colleagues on care teams -- and allowing them to be part of certified stroke centers -- will greatly increase access to endovascular thrombectomy.

SIR is already revising its current stroke training guidelines to support expanded patient access to interventional stroke treatment. The training pathway will reinforce requirements from the Joint Commission and the AHA for physicians operating in thrombectomy-capable stroke centers and comprehensive stroke centers. In September, the Joint Commission and the AHA announced they would hold a dialogue with provider organizations to discuss requirements as the organizations work to update certification criteria for these centers.

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