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Safer medication

Sunday 6 October 2019 4:27pm

Dr Philip Adamson Image 650
Dr Philip Adamson, Consultant Cardiologist and Researcher

Kiwi researchers are trying to find out how long to give blood-thinning treatments to heart attack survivors.

Thousands of New Zealanders take blood thinning medications to reduce their risk of heart disease, but the drug's blood-thinning action carries a potentially fatal risk of causing internal bleeding.

The Heart Foundation funded research, (NZD$147,254), led by the CHI’s Dr Philip Adamson, Consultant Cardiologist and Researcher, will try to reduce the harm caused by such medications.

Patients who have had a heart attack are currently treated with two blood thinning medications; aspirin over the long-term in combination with a second medication for a shorter 12-month period.

But no-one knows the optimal time period a patient should receive the second medication for.

This research involves two studies, the Heart Foundation-funded study will involve more than 2,000 New Zealand patients who have had a heart attack and were treated in the standard manner. Blood samples collected from these patients will be used to find out which blood tests can then predict the patients who have bleeding complications from their treatment.

This work will provide vital information to guide the second, larger international trial, soon to start in New Zealand, where more than 6,000 patients who have had a heart attack will be given the second blood thinning medication for either three or 12 months.

Every year within New Zealand, 10,000 patients are admitted to hospital with a heart attack and one in five of these will die during the following year.

Dr Adamson hopes the study will lead to better understanding why recurrent heart attacks occur and how these can best be prevented.

“The Heart Foundation is essential to the research work I do. Here in New Zealand we have excellent health researchers and patients who are willing to participate in clinical studies. However, as a small country without a large biomedical industry we are heavily reliant on charitable organisations such as the Heart Foundation to support our work,” Dr Adamson said.

Media contact

Paula de Roeper
Christchurch Heart Institute Communication Manager
Tel +64 27 316 0571