Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
10:55 AM 6th July 2020

New Stroke Imaging Technology Helping Physicians Save Lives In Yorkshire

More stroke patients in Yorkshire are receiving life-saving treatment thanks to new imaging software that uses artificial intelligence to give doctors real-time views of the brain.

Dr Tony Goddard (wearing PPE mask as he’s in a clinical area)
Dr Tony Goddard (wearing PPE mask as he’s in a clinical area)
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is the first regional stroke centre in the UK to adopt the RapidAI advanced imaging platform across various sites in its stroke network. It’s already leading to positive results for patients who may have died or suffered long-term disability if their strokes had gone untreated.

One patient, Leeds man Mike Wood, suffered a stroke in April and is now recovering at home after his doctors performed an interventional procedure, called a thrombectomy, to remove the clot blocking blood flow to his brain.

Mike Wood and his wife Julie
Mike Wood and his wife Julie
The 57-year-old said: “I think it is miraculous. I was told I would have either been dead or paralysed down the right side without this particular treatment.”

RapidAI is an automated imaging system that uses artificial intelligence to analyse a patient’s brain scans, providing results to stroke teams within minutes. By processing a patient’s CT perfusion scan, for example, the Rapid platform can quickly identify the amount of brain tissue that can be potentially saved if a procedure like a mechanical thrombectomy is performed.

RapidAI results quickly show whether a blood vessel is blocked, how much blood is flowing through, how much of the brain is likely “dead” and how much can be potentially saved—refining and speeding up the decision-making process for doctors.

Consultant neuro-radiologist, Dr Tony Goddard, along with his colleagues at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospitals, has been using the Rapid platform for his patients in Leeds and other patients referred from Bradford, Wakefield and Calderdale.

Dr Goddard said: “The information RapidAI provides is very often a key part of a life-saving procedure, and patients who enter the angiogram room pre-treatment unable to move and talk, can be moving and sometimes talking by the end of the procedure.

“We use RapidAI for most patients now and it is particularly beneficial for those who wake up with stroke symptoms for whom there is currently no alternative way to assess treatment for these patients as accurately.”

Mike Wood of Alwoodley, Leeds said he was fortunate that the medical staff on hand were able to use the imaging technology. He suffered a stroke when he was in his kitchen cooking and suddenly felt an odd sensation down his right side, and lost sight in his right eye.

“My speech was odd and I was saying all sorts of things. I remember waking up in the ambulance and then going straight into the hospital for a CT scan and don’t remember anything much after that for a couple of days.

“I was not expecting this and didn’t seem to grapple with what had happened. The first few hours you think all sorts of things, and usually bad. Every moment adds up, and when you need it doing, they have to act quickly. The doctor is definitely a miracle worker.”

Mike, who was an equipment manager at Yorkshire Television for 23 years and has three children and a grandson, is now recuperating at home with his wife Julie.

“It’s still quite early days but I’m slowly starting to go out for walks with the dog, although Julie is keeping a close eye on me,” he said.

Marc Hofmans of RapidAI said it was very exciting to have Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust become the first UK system to roll out the Rapid advanced imaging platform to its various hospitals. “With RapidAI technology at multiple sites, when potential stroke patients present throughout the region, there can be an even more immediate and coordinated response, informing treatment and transfer decisions, saving critical time, and contributing to better patient outcomes.”