Find a Stroke Study in your area

To find out more about current Stroke studies you can view a list of studies on the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio Database.

Working with the Life Sciences

The NIHR Clinical Research Network Stroke has been enormously successful in integrating clinical research into NHS clinical service provision, and both developing and delivering a large practice changing portfolio of clinical trials.

Read our Stroke Specialty Profile to find out more.


Our Studies

stroke main crop

Clinical research into stroke takes place at every stage along the stroke patient pathway from prevention, to treatment and rehabilitation. Clinical studies also take place in diverse settings from specialist hospital units, to community rehabilitation centres and in patient’s homes.

We support a wide range of research, including:

  • studies looking at the causes of strokes and medical interventions to prevent secondary strokes
  • studies looking at the prevention of cognitive decline and research into the different types of strokes
  • studies involving devices to help increase blood flow, removes clots, stimulate nerves and rehabilitation tools
  • studies into the rehabilitation and ongoing care for patients

Some currently active stroke studies focus on the following:

  • Robotic therapies to improve patient outcome post stroke
  • Cost effective treatment already available on NHS to treat acute haemorrhages
  • Studies using brain cooling techniques to minimise damage caused by stroke

Where there are considerable overlaps with other specialty areas, for example with cardiovascular disease and in other care settings such as primary care, we work closely with our colleagues from across the Network to deliver high quality stroke research.

To find out more about current Stroke studies you can view a list on the UK Clinical Trials Gateway.

How stroke research helps to improve clinical practice – and patient outcomes

UK-led stroke research has made major contributions to developments in areas like anti-platelet agents, carotid endarterectomy, carotid stenting, surgical management of intracranial haemorrhage and rehabilitation in recent years.

UK research groups have contributed to national and international guidance on stroke care: 

  • 36% of research references underpinning NICE guidance identified in systematic reviews
  • 42% of key references in European Stroke Organisation’s guidelines for management of ischaemic stroke

GORE - The Gore Reduce Clinical Study

  • UK recruitment target 12
  • UK participants recruited 31

The aim of the GORE study was to investigate a percutaneous cardiac closure device for the secondary prevention of stroke in younger people. The NIHR Clinical Research Network supported recruitment of patients with ischaemic stroke secondary to an underlying cardiac defect from four stroke units across the UK.

Following identification and specialist stroke work up, eligible participants were randomised to either percutaneous closure device (or standard care) by the cardiologist. This trial was complex as it required collaboration between acute stroke services and cardiology, NIHR support for identification, enrolment and follow-up across both specialties was key in this study exceeding its target recruitment by 200 per cent.

STEPS - A Study of Swallowing Treatment using Electrical Pharyngeal Stimulation

  • Global recruitment target 140
  • UK recruitment target 24
  • UK participants recruited 102

 Swallowing problems are common after stroke and a proportion of survivors are left dependent on feeding tubes. The STEPS study investigated electrical stimulation, applied to the pharynx by a device similar to a feeding tube. Assessment and treatment of swallowing is dependent on multi-disciplinary skills, including doctors nurses and speech and language therapists

The Network supported research staff from these multi-disciplinary teams to deliver the STEPS study in 11 stroke units across the UK, with 102 participants recruited over 26 months, making this the largest trial of its kind worldwide.

Changing clinical practice: the CLOTS trials

Immobile patients face a 10-20% risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) during the first month after stroke. The CLOTS – or ‘Clots in Legs Or sTockings after Stroke’ studies are testing graduated compression stockings for DVT prevention in acute stroke patients.

Findings from the CLOTS 1 trial were published in The Lancet in May 2009: 

  • 200 patients would need to be fitted with thigh-length GCS to prevent one proximal DVT
  • Two-thirds of DVTs prevented would be without symptoms
  • Patients in the interventional group had significantly more problems with skin ulcers, blisters and ulceration

As a result, NICE revised its stroke guidelines in early 2010, and no longer recommend thigh-length GCS for stroke patients.

Useful links and resources

Stroke specialty Leaflet 

Case studies