Scientists believe a “revolutionary” skin patch costing just 39p could save the lives of thousands of stroke victims.
The research, published by the University of Nottingham, found that a patch containing the ingredient Glyceryl Trinitrate (GTN) could mitigate the damage caused in the immediate aftermath of a stroke.
GTN is already used as a treatment to lower blood pressure and open up blood vessels.
But when used in stroke patients, researchers found that the patch halved the death rate from 38 per cent to just 16 per cent.
The university will now work with seven ambulance services to trial the patch on hundreds of patients.
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “Current treatment for stroke is fairly limited and patients are dying or suffering life-changing disabilities as a result.
“This trial uses a simple patch that can be applied rapidly by paramedics as soon as they reach the patient.
“If successful, this could revolutionise treatment for stroke patients across the UK and potentially globally and could be a huge step forward in the advancement of stroke treatment which currently lags behind heart attack treatment.”
Professor Philip Bath, a BHF researcher from the University of Nottingham, added: “We believe that by improving blood flow in the brain in stroke patients we can dramatically improve their survival chances and recovery.
“This patch enables us to do this within minutes and early trials have been very promising.”