University of Melbourne Magazine

Stroke solution in the skies

  • A group of people standing in front of a medical helicopter.

    Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Dean Shitij Kapur, Stroke Foundation CEO Sharon McGowan, Professor Davis, Minister for Health Greg Hunt and Professor Donnan at the announcement | Picture: Peter Casamento

    Australia could become home to the world’s first stroke air ambulance, transforming rural and regional access to emergency stroke treatment.

    A research group led by Professor Geoffrey Donnan and Stephen Davis at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital was awarded a $1 million grant as part of the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund Frontiers initiative.

    They will develop, test and ultimately implement portable brain imaging tools that can be transported in air and road ambulances, allowing life-saving equipment to be taken directly to a patient.

    This is critical in circumstances such as stroke onset in which the first hour is known as the ‘golden hour’, offering the best chances of patient survival.

    Experts from more than 30 of Australia’s leading health and academic institutes and charities are involved in the project.