A heart research team at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, led by Cardiothoracic Anaesthetist Dr Mo Jayarajah, has collaborated with an international team of leading researchers on a study that has major implications for the safety of heart patients.
The researchers in heart disease from eight countries have completed a major study – ATACAS - looking at whether patients with coronary artery disease should have their aspirin medication stopped before heart surgery.
The study, which began in Australia, proves conclusively that continuing aspirin in these patients does not increase the risk of complications and, further, that stopping aspirin is unnecessary and may expose patients who have their surgery delayed or cancelled to thrombotic risk.
With the help of research nurses, Julie Alderton and Darren Waugh, the team, based at Derriford Hospital, were responsible for seven UK centres recruiting almost 500 patients nationwide. The results of the first study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 25th 2016.
Dr Jayarajah, European Chief Investigator, who co-authored the paper stated: “Conflicting guidelines regarding aspirin from expert professional organizations have highlighted the lack of definitive data - the ATACAS study has provided an answer to our dilemma.”
The ATACAS study recruited 4,600 patients over six years from 25 hospitals across four continents.
Dr Jayarajah added: “Large-scale international collaboration between clinicians with the support of government funding is fundamental if we are to answer important clinical questions and improve outcomes for our patients. Further studies with this multi-national group investigating the use of steroids and iron supplements for patients undergoing heart surgery are being planned.”