Sandy Middleton with stroke patient Giuseppe Termignoni at St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst
Professor Sandy Middleton has been awarded the 2012 American Heart Association CVN Stroke Article of the Year Award for her study published last year in the Lancet - which found three simple protocols to be more effective than the current treatment for acute stroke patients.
Director of the Nursing Research Institute at ACU and St Vincents & Mater Health, Professor Middleton will receive the award at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Los Angeles in November. She is the first non-US recipient.
Professor Middleton’s research found that acute stroke patients who receive three clinical protocols to manage fever, sugar and swallowing are 16 per cent more likely to be alive and independent three months later.
The study showed that patients who received care in stroke units using these protocols were also more likely to have fewer episodes of fever, lower average temperatures and sugar levels, and better screening for swallowing difficulties.
“These findings demonstrate that consistent nursing care can be just as important as medical breakthroughs,” Professor Middleton said.
“This is the first study of its kind internationally, made all the more significant in that this effect was not due to a drug or a device but as a result of teamwork and good nursing care.
“While good management of fever, high blood sugar levels and swallowing can salvage brain tissue - poor management can result in extension of the stroke and have devastating consequences for the patient.”
The study was a collaboration between ACU, the University of Newcastle, the University of Ottawa, the University of Western Sydney, the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne, as well as a team of clinicians from NSW Health and support from the Agency for Clinical Innovation’s Stroke Services NSW.
The Stroke Article of the Year Award recognises the scientific and clinical contributions of cerebrovascular nurses in promoting the American Heart Association's goals. It also recognises scientific excellence in cerebrovascular nursing science and encourages investigation that will further knowledge and skills in this area.