"Currently, less than a third of stroke patients are treated in dedicated stroke centres. This means that thousands of patients fail to get the specialist care they urgently need," highlighted Professor Valeria Caso, President of the European Stroke Organisation. "Our vision is for stroke patients to receive the same level of treatment wherever they live in Europe and thus preventing disability and death. To achieve this, we need to increase the number of stroke ready hospitals and we need to optimize the quality of treatment in all existing stroke centres."
The European Angels Initiative, which was now launched by the ESO and Boehringer Ingelheim, aims at building a community of at least 1,500 stroke centres andstroke ready hospitals across Europe by May 2019. To achieve this, the initiative will support hospitals and physicians in setting up or improving stroke centres through various measures, which have been developed together with a steering committee of leading stroke experts from around the world. These measures include educational tools and programmes, support for in-hospital process optimization and a community platform for peer-to-peer exchange and access to the world's leading stroke specialists.
"The Angels Initiative helps hospitals to improve their process flow so that patients are treated earlier and in a better, more structured manner," explained Dr Georg van Husen, Senior Vice President, Therapeutic Area CardioMetabolism, Boehringer Ingelheim. "We are funding this unprecedented health initiative, because it aims at structurally improving the health care system needed to treat acute stroke patients in the best possible way. Over the next five years, this presents an opportunity to give 500,000 stroke patients a better chance of life."
The Angels Initiative, which is fully funded by Boehringer Ingelheim, is part of a broader program with a commitment to add value in stroke care in a holistic way and to ultimately reduce the burden of stroke by improving prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of acute strokes.
It builds on the experience from earlier successful implementations of stroke care improvement projects designed and conducted by Boehringer Ingelheim in developing countries, amongst others in the Middle East & North Africa region, India and South Africa. For example, the number of patients in India now receiving acute stroke treatment has increased 3-fold through these improvements.
Interested hospitals and physicians can find more information and sign up to become part of the Angels Initiative at www.angels-initiative.com.
About ischaemic stroke
Ischaemic stroke, the interruption of blood flow in the brain, is a medical emergency often resulting in permanent disability or death. Acute stroke care aims at restoring the blood supply to the area of the brain affected by the stroke as quickly as possible. Time is the most critical aspect for acute stroke care, as every minute after a stroke, 2 million brain cells can be lost permanently.
Guidelines recommend that stroke patients are treated in specialized stroke units by a dedicated team and that treatment should be initiated as quickly as possible, ideally within 60 minutes after arrival in the hospital. This has been shown to reduce mortality, disability, complications and length of hospital stay, and leads to more independence and a higher possibility for the patient to return to their own home.
About the European Stroke Organisation
The European Stroke Organisation (ESO) is a pan-European society of stroke researchers and physicians, national and regional stroke societies and lay organisations that was founded in December 2007.
The aim of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by changing the ways that stroke is viewed and treated. This can only be achieved by professional and public education, and by making institutional changes.
The ESO provides assistance in achieving this goal and in harmonising stroke management across the whole of Europe.
About Boehringer Ingelheim
Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, Boehringer Ingelheim operates globally through 145 affiliates and a total of some 47,500 employees. The focus of the family-owned company, founded in 1885, is on researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing new medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.
Social responsibility is an important element of the corporate culture at Boehringer Ingelheim. This includes worldwide involvement in social projects through, for example, the initiative "Making More Health" while also caring for employees. Respect, equal opportunity and reconciling career and family form the foundation of mutual cooperation. The company also focuses on environmental protection and sustainability in everything it does.
In 2015, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about 14.8 billion euros. R&D expenditure corresponds to 20.3 per cent of net sales.