Host university: Newcastle University
PhD project: Stratification of suspected stroke into important subgroups using clinical information, machine learning and blood biomarkers.
Project summary: Stroke is a medical emergency which requires rapid assessment and treatment to reduce the likelihood of disability or death, and different stroke subtypes require different emergency treatments. Clinical symptom-based scores using information available to ambulance practitioners in the prehospital setting do not have sufficient accuracy to distinguish stroke from conditions which mimic stroke, or to identify different stroke subtypes. Consequently, there is inefficient triage of patients with stroke symptoms to appropriate specialist hospital services.
This is particularly the case for patients with large vessel occlusion stroke who benefit from rapid thrombectomy treatment which is only available at highly specialist regional centres.
The overall aim of this PhD is to explore how well clinical information and blood biomarkers can stratify suspected stroke into important subgroups for determining emergency treatment and the most appropriate hospital setting.
As described above, this will involve: i) a machine learning analysis of a pre-existing anonymised dataset of ambulance service suspected stroke patients to explore whether clinical information can be combined to distinguish between stroke and non-stroke mimic conditions; ii) an observational cohort study to determine whether blood biomarkers (whole blood purines and D-dimer) may predict large vessel occlusion stroke or distinguish between stroke and mimic conditions; iii) a literature review to describe existing evidence about how clinical factors potentially assessable during routine ambulance care (e.g. blood pressure) might be used select patients with a better outcome from thrombectomy.
My background and research interests: I completed a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience before joining the world of stroke research. My main motivation for being involved in this type of research is that it allows me to contribute to improving the lives of stroke patients – my past work was not so directly applied to clinical problems like stroke and I find it much more worthwhile to work towards something which could have such a pivotal impact on other peoples’ lives.
Expected PhD completion date: January 2025
Contact: [email protected]