Master stroke from Oxford project

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New automated stoke test software from Oxford University spin-out, Brainomix, has been developed to assist doctors in making assessments of strokes in emergency departments. The software, e-ASPECTS, automatically interprets CT images of the patient allowing the doctor to make quick decisions, which will ultimately save lives and improve patient recovery.

e-ASPECTS automates the Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) pioneered by Alastair Buchan, professor of stroke medicine and head of the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford. Over the last 12 years ASPECTS has been adopted worldwide. The original ASPECTS system relies on a scoring system to assess CT (X-ray computed tomography) scans, but requires a stroke expert to gauge the images.

The automated e-ASPECTS encapsulates the expertise of Professor Buchan and his team in software that processes CT images. The software gives a score that can be used by any doctor to assist in deciding on an intervention.

There is only a four-and-a-half hour window from the time at which a stroke occurs when a clot-busting thrombolytic treatment can be given. Quick, expert assessment and successful treatment of stroke patients saves an average of £10,000 per patient per year and gives the patient a fuller life. In Europe, there were 1.3 million stroke deaths last year.

With 1.2 million stroke patients every year in the UK alone, the new system has the potential to increase the number of patients treated, save lives and improve patient recovery.

e-ASPECTS is from Brainomix, a start-up coming out of Isis Innovation, the technology transfer arm of the University of Oxford, and was developed with the support of the National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.

Professor Buchan said: 'ASPECTS offers reliability and utility with a reproducible, quantitative-grading system to assess early ischemic changes. By automating the scoring system, e-ASPECTS will achieve better patient selection for stroke intervention and a higher chance of recovering the patient’s physical and mental function, thus ultimately improving quality of life.’

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