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The results of the trial, stopped early due to the significance of the findings, were presented in a late-breaking session at the World Stroke Congress and simultaneously published in The Lancet.

Professor Craig Anderson, Director of Global Brain Health at The George Institute for Global Health, said the rapid emergence of this effect suggested the more aggressive approach was compromising the return of blood flow to the affected area.

“Our study provides a strong indication that this increasingly common treatment strategy should now be avoided in clinical practice,” he said.

Around 85 percent of strokes are ischaemic strokes, caused by the loss of blood flow to an area of the brain due to a blockage in a blood vessel, leading to a loss of neurological function.

Endovascular thrombectomy is an increasingly used non-surgical treatment for ischaemic stroke, in which microcatheters or thin tubes visible under X-rays are inserted into the blood clot to dissolve it.

“A potential downside of this now widely used and effective treatment is that the rapid return of blood supply to an area that has been deprived of oxygen for a while can cause tissue damage known as reperfusion injury,” said Professor Anderson.

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