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BACKGROUND: The English National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network first established Hyperacute Stroke Research Centres (HSRCs) in 2010 to support multicentre hyperacute (< 9 h) and complex stroke research. We assessed the impact of this investment on research performance and patient outcomes in a post-hoc analysis of country-specific data from a large multicentre clinical trial. METHODS: Comparisons of baseline, outcome and trial metric data were made for participants recruited to the alteplase-dose arm of the international Enhanced Control of Hypertension and Thrombolysis Stroke study (ENCHANTED) at National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network HSRCs and non-HSRCs between June 2012 and October 2015. RESULTS: Among 774 ENCHANTED United Kingdom participants (41% female; mean age 72 years), 502 (64.9%) were recruited from nine HSRCs and 272 (35.1%) from 24 non-HSRCs. HSRCs had higher monthly recruitment rates (median 1.5, interquartile interval 1.4-2.2 vs. 0.7, 0.5-1.3; p = 0.01) and shorter randomisation-to-treatment times (2.6 vs. 3.1 min; p = 0.01) compared to non-HSRCs. HSRC participants were younger and had milder stroke severity, but clinically important between-group differences in 90-day death or disability outcomes remained after adjustment for minimisation criteria and important baseline variables at randomisation, whether defined by ordinal modified Rankin scale score shift (adjusted OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.62-1.08; p = 0.15), scores 2 to 6 (adjusted OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.50-1.01; p = 0.05), or scores 3 to 6 (adjusted OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.57-1.17; p = 0.27). There was no significant difference in symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage, nor heterogeneity in the comparative treatment effects between low- and standard-dose alteplase by HSRCs or non-HSRCs. CONCLUSIONS: Infrastructure investment in HSRCs was associated with improved research performance metrics, particularly recruitment and time to treatment with clinically important, though not statistically significant, improvements in patient outcomes. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Unique identifier: NCT01422616 .

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Acute ischaemic stroke, alteplase, clinical trials, symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage, thrombolysis, Academies and Institutes, Acute Disease, Aged, Biomedical Research, Cerebral Hemorrhage, England, Female, Fibrinolytic Agents, Humans, Hypertension, Male, Middle Aged, Stroke, Thrombosis, Tissue Plasminogen Activator, Treatment Outcome, United Kingdom