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
- clinical trials
- symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage