The New York Times magazine features a story about advanced stroke treatments at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta.

The treatment is an endovascular thrombectomy or EVT. A procedure in which a clot is physically extracted with a long catheter from a stroke patient’s brain, restoring blood flow.

The key to a succesful EVT is speed. A patient must be rushed through the ER to the CT scanner, verifying that the clot can be extracted without delay.  And then to the endovascular suite for the extraction.

About 5 to 15 percentage of stroke patients turn out to be candidates for EVT.  And if successful these stroke patients can walk out of the hospital in 3 to 4 days without any deficits.

The challenge in bringing EVT to all of Alberta or all of Canada is the length of time taken to adopt new technologies. On average, it takes 17 years for a new technology to be widely adopted.  That is party because of inertia.

So EVT at scale is an enormous challenge. Patients in London, England are 8 times more likely to get EVT compared to those living outside of London.

Australia has the highest overall rate of access to EVT with 46% of patients in need receiving one.

Globally, as of 2019, only 2.79% of potential EVT patients get the procedure. That is likely the number throughout Canada.

The disparity and lack of equity in access to EVT throughout Canada is a massive issue.

Australia has a healthcare system that is funded with both public sector dollars and private sector dollars. This might account for the funding required to scale EVT in Australia.

Unfortunately, Canada’s healthcare system is underfunded. Canada does not permit private funding for medical treatments and procedures. Canada does not allow private health insurance.

And so stroke patients throughout Canada will experience health inequity and lack of access to EVT and the resulting serious stroke deficits because of how Canadian healthcare is funded and organized.

Anyone interesting in changing this?????