Lincolnshire patients with two very serious health conditions are being given access to lifesaving new treatments thanks to a clinical trial.
The cardiac research unit of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has been announced as the UK’s top recruiting centre into the re-Dual study.
This clinical trial was looking at treatment for patients who suffer from both a heart attack and atrial fibrillation (an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate) and has shown excellent results.
Traditionally, patients with both of these conditions occurring together – one which causes damage to the heart muscle and the other which can lead to strokes – have been given medication for both to protect them, but that comes with an increased risk of bleeding.
The study, which has just closed, has involved 2,725 people from 414 centres, in 41 countries across the world being given a different drug – 18 of whom are Lincolnshire patients, thanks to the efforts of ULHT staff in giving them the opportunity to take part.
Dr Kelvin Lee, who led the study at the Lincolnshire Heart Centre, said: “This study looked at patients who had a heart attack and required a coronary stent to keep the coronary artery open, but who also have atrial fibrillation which is a rhythm condition of the heart that can cause a stroke.
“We have always had an issue with treating these patients, as the different drugs we have traditionally used for the two conditions do not interact well together. If we use them together, we may increase the risk of bleeding into the gut or brain. This can be very dangerous. On the other hand, omitting one of the medications may put them at a greater risk of a debilitating stroke or heart attack. These patients are put in a very difficult position with these conditions.
“In the re-Dual study, we can use a new drug, a direct oral anticoagulant called Dabigatran rather than the traditional Warfarin. This allows us to test a new drug regime that may work better for them.
“This is an important study to do to see if we can improve how we treat our patients with these relatively common conditions.”
The trial has now closed and the results have been recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona.
The study found there was a significant benefit seen in using Dabigatran compared to Warfarin. It particularly found the patients had less bleeding complications, in particular a very significant reduction in bleeding into the brain.
Patient Ronald Tenny (82) from Scotter, near Gainsborough, is one of the patients who has been involved in the study.
“I have had a few heart attacks over the years and I used to be on warfarin, but Mr Lee convinced me to try something different and be part of this trial, and I really I’m on a better drug now.
“He told me that taking part in the trial didn’t make me a guinea pig, it made me a pioneer. I fancy the sound of that.”