A new service, designed to further improve outcomes for stroke patients with blood clots in the brain, has been introduced in NHS Forth Valley.

The thrombectomy service, delivered in partnership with stroke specialists at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, involves using a specially designed clot retrieving device.

This device will help to restore blood flow to the brain, removing clots too big to be broken down by clot-busting drugs.

The service may also be used in patients who are unable to take those drugs, which has the potential to save lives and significantly improve outcomes.

Dr Tom French, consultant in stroke medicine at NHS Forth Valley, said: “This is an important service development which has the potential to significantly reduce the severity of the symptoms and level of disability caused by severe strokes.

“It has taken many months of planning to introduce these new arrangements and I’d like to pay tribute to stroke and interventional radiology colleagues in Edinburgh, staff from the Scottish Ambulance Service, who play a vital role in identifying patients for treatment, our local radiology teams, and our GP colleagues across Forth Valley who provide ongoing care and support for patients after they have been discharged from hospital.”

Under new arrangements, patients who have experienced a stroke will now undergo a CT scan to see if there is evidence of a significant blood clot in their head or neck.

If this is the case, they will be transferred to the ERI and treated with the thrombectomy before being discharged back to Forth Valley.

Forth Valley was the first hospital outwith the Lothian area to operate the hub and spoke model and offer the procedure.