What it’s like to present at MRSS journal club

“Presenting at the MRSS journal club gave me a unique opportunity to practice critical appraisal and giving a presentation in a relaxed atmosphere. Journal club enabled me to not only build on skills that we are taught but also practice conveying research results to a group and get feedback from a consultant who is an expert in the field. By exploring the topic in more detail, reading widely and appraising the evidence I have gained a deeper understanding of both the critical appraisal process as well as the topic itself, which was the use of endovascular thrombectomy in the management of acute ischaemic stroke.

I appraised HERMES, a meta-analysis published in the Lancet in 2016 that summarised the results of 5 RCTs published in 2014-2015, using patient-level data from the primary studies. It focused on answering the clinical question: “Do adults presenting with acute ischaemic strokes in the anterior circulation benefit from endovascular thrombectomy in addition to standard care?” Data from over 600 patients in each of the intervention and control groups were used to measure the primary outcome, which was greater functional independence at 90 days post-stroke. The adjusted odds ratio for greater functional independence was 2.49 in favour of the intervention group, giving a number needed to treat of just 2.6. The results of these RCTs and the meta-analysis have revolutionised acute ischaemic stroke management – since 2013 when the only efficacious treatment was thrombolysis with IV alteplase, endovascular thrombectomy has now become the standard of care for patients presenting with an occlusion in their proximal anterior circulation who have ischaemic but salvageable brain tissue on imaging