International expansion to world-leading stroke trial at the RAH

A world-leading stroke trial investigating early keyhole brain surgery to treat intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH), or bleeding into the brain, is being expanded across the country and internationally.

The EVACUATE study, led by the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, now has participating sites in New Zealand and Canada and the study leaders are also in discussions with sites in Europe, including the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

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Although ICH accounts for around 15 per cent of all strokes, it is the most devastating, causing around one in 20 deaths worldwide, and severe disability in the majority of those who survive.

The EVACUATE trial examines whether early minimally invasive brain surgery in patients who present with large haemorrhages can achieve better outcome for patients.

“Previous phases of the study have shown positive results and the current phase appears just as promising,” said RAH Neurosurgeon and Surgical Principal Investigator Associate Professor Amal Abou-Hamden.

“Our hope is that one day this technique will become easily accessible, not just at specialist units, but at hospitals right across Australia and the world.”

The process involves prioritising patients presenting with ICH for immediate surgery. The surgical team then uses a technique to drill a small hole in the patient’s skull so a probe can be inserted into the brain. From there, the surgeon is guided by cross-section images of the brain, to locate the area of bleeding and remove the blood clot to stop vessels from bleeding.

If performed early enough, this stops the expansion of the bleed and reverses the toxic effects of blood in the brain.

“This is an exciting trial that has the potential to lead to major improvements to stroke systems of care and deliver real benefits to stroke patients and their families across the world,” said Central Adelaide Local Health Network CEO, Professor Lesley Dwyer.

“We are incredibly proud of our stroke team for leading this world class research, which highlights our commitment to developing new and innovative treatments that deliver safe, effective, and improved care.”

More about the EVACUATE trial.

Click here to listen to an episode of Research Pulse podcast, featuring Professor Tim Kleinig, Head of the Stroke Unit at the RAH.