A SKIN patch costing just 39p could help save thousands of lives by improving the chances of surviving a stroke, researchers claim.
West Midlands Ambulance Service is working with a number of other ambulance trusts, the British Heart Foundation and the University of Nottingham to test the plaster-like patch which contains the drug glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) on patients suffering from a Stroke.
The researchers believe that the patch can improve outcomes for people who have had a stroke if the medicine is administered quickly.
Early results in hospital suggest the skin patch could double survival chances.
The trial which is currently being run in the Black Country but could be extended to Staffordshire sees the patch applied by ambulance staff when they assess the patient thus saving vital minutes.
Stroke causes around 3,500 deaths across the West Midlands every year according to latest statistics.
A stroke is usually caused by an artery clot or burst blood vessel in the brain and causes permanent disability in around a quarter of patients
GTN helps lower blood pressure and opens up blood vessels, which can help reduce the damage caused in the immediate minutes and hours following a stroke.
Research Paramedic, Josh Miler, said: “For this treatment to work best, we need to get to patients quickly and that means people being aware of the FAST Test – Face, Arms, Speech, Time to call 999 – which is a very simple method of assessing whether someone is having a stroke.
“Time is critical in a stroke so we would strongly advise everyone to learn the test so that they can identify if someone is having a stroke.”