PATIENTS who have suffered a stroke could receive potentially life-saving treatment more quickly thanks to the introduction of cutting-edge artificial technology at Colchester Hospital.

Named e-Stroke, the UK-designed software now available at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust analyses images of the brain and blood vessels.

It can then automatically flag blockages to clinicians to help guide treatment decisions.

The technology also allows the trust’s stroke teams to securely and instantaneously share these scans 24/7 with colleagues at specialist centres to gain a second opinion to support fast diagnosis and treatment.

It will ensure patients who need a procedure called thrombectomy, which is used to remove a clot and is only carried out at specialist sites, can be transferred as quickly as possible.

Read more: 'A dog bite killed my brother... now another means my husband's legs need amputating'

It comes as a welcome boost due to how highly time sensitive the stroke clinical pathway is.

Experts state for every 15 minutes of delayed treatment, stroke survivors may lose a month of healthy life.

Dr Ramachandran Sivakumar, who leads the stroke service at Colchester Hospital, said: “Speed is vital in the treatment of strokes and a thrombectomy should be carried out as early as possible to increase the patient’s chances of a good outcome.

“Introducing this software will allow our clinicians to work closely with regional colleagues to review scans promptly, in turn ensuring patients receive the best possible care.”

Consultant radiologist Dr Nagendra Thayur, who worked to introduce the software, added: “By allowing us to share images quickly and efficiently, e-Stroke will help ensure appropriate patients who need time-sensitive thrombectomies can be rapidly transferred to a specialist centre for the procedure.”

More than 100,000 strokes take place in the UK each year, which is the equivalent of one every five minutes.

The treatment which patients receive will depend on the cause of the stroke and when it took place.

Riaz Rahman, VP Healthcare Global with Brainomix, which developed the technology, said: “Working with the team from Colchester has been a delight.

“The entire end-to-end process of installing the AI technology was successfully completed in a matter of weeks, meaning the real work of optimising the referral pathway for those patients eligible for life-saving treatment can begin in earnest.

“The clinical teams from ESNEFT have truly embraced the idea that more timely clinical information available instantly at their fingertips will help to optimise their own clinical expertise and knowledge to deliver the best patient care.”