International Faculty and course attendees at the Mechanical Thrombectomy for Acute Stroke training program held at the ASSERT Centre today. The program provides a close to reality replica of the environment experienced by physicians when performing the procedure.  The program was held in conjunction with our foundation partner Mentice and is kindly sponsored by Stryker NV.

The ASSERT Centre at University College Cork in Ireland recently conducted a new simulation-based training for Mechanical Thrombectomy of acute ischemic stroke, featuring Mentice’s high-fidelity endovascular training solution.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability in the Western world. Ischemic stroke is accountable for 80% of all strokes. During an ischemic stroke the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain is blocked due to the formation of blood clots in an artery in the brain, or due to narrowing of the arteries (stenosis) which blocks or impedes blood flow.

Mechanical Thrombectomy is an endovascular procedural treatment for stroke which has been proven to save lives and reduce disability in patients with large vessel occlusion strokes. Access to this treatment is limited due to lack of interventional neuro-endovascular specialists, doctors specially trained in performing this procedure. To address this deficit, the ASSERT Centre at University College Cork, in conjunction with industry partners Mentice AB (Gothenburg, Sweden) and Stryker Neurovascular (Fremont, CA) hosted a pioneering training course to help train doctors in this life saving technique.

ASSERT Director/ Clinical Lead, Professor Barry O Reilly, welcomed the faculty and attendees to the Centre for the two-day course at the state of the art facility in Ireland stating that “in an age when stroke is one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability this pioneering course provides structured training in life saving techniques”. Professor O Reilly added “we are privileged to have the course facilitated by leading Interventional Neuroradiologists at the ASSERT Centre and are confident that this programme will be the first of many”.

The two-day programme, utilized a new training solution for thrombectomy, based on world-leading endovascular simulation developed and provided by Mentice. The solution offers metrics which objectively measure every step a trainee takes, providing direct guidance and assessment of performance. The Mentice technology delivers a close-to-reality replica of the environment experienced by physicians when performing such procedures.

Neuro-endovascular specialists from Germany, Denmark & the UK guided doctors step-by-step through the procedure on the Mentice simulator. The course is based on a proficiency based progression method which requires the trainee to demonstrate a validated and quantitatively defined aptitude of the procedure.  Professor Tony Gallagher, Director of Research and Professor of Technology Enhanced Learning at the ASSERT Centre pioneered this method of training which utilizes baseline simulation training of a procedure prior to clinical training.  Previous clinical trials in surgery have demonstrated that doctors who completed simulation-based training prior to clinical training perform 40 – 70% better than doctors trained in the traditional way.

“Mechanical thrombectomy for acute stroke”, says Professor Gallagher of ASSERT, “is a life-changing treatment for many gravely ill patients.  The success of the treatment is determined, in no small part, by the skills of the clinician performing the procedure”.

“We are proud to partner with the ASSERT Centre at University College Cork and are happy that our state-of-the-art technology is being implemented for this course,” says Mentice CEO Göran Malmberg. “Our aim has been to build a simulation-based training system that uses validated performance metrics to perform and assess training to proficiency. In this structure, leveraging the principles of proficiency based progression, physicians are trained until they demonstrate a validated and quantitatively defined skills level.”

Mr Ghislain Gackiere, Vice President, International of Stryker Neurovascular, sponsors of the course stated that “This state of the art training course combining high-fidelity simulation with a ‘proficiency-based progression’ training method will, in our opinion, contribute to making the training of existing and new operators more effective, therefore allowing more stroke patients access to endovascular treatment”.