Tackling heart attack
Every six minutes someone in the UK dies of a
heart attack. Heart attacks happen when
blood clots block one or more of the coronary arteries that
feed the heart with blood and oxygen.
Our heart research has helped us to understand this condition in
more detail, and vastly improve treatment.
Discoveries by our scientists have helped save thousands of
lives across the country, and treatment of heart attack in the UK
is now among the best in the world.
Finding the cause of heart attacks
The late BHF Professor Michael Davies was one of the first
scientists to clearly demonstrate that blood clots
in the heart’s coronary arteries were a major cause of heart
This breakthrough in the 1970’s paved the way for scientists
around the world to look at why blood clots happen and to develop
medicines to combat them.
Massive research studies led by scientists we fund, and involving tens of
thousands of volunteers, proved that a combination of two
clot-busting medicines given quickly during a heart attack saves
This emergency prescription is now used across the country and has helped save thousands of heart attack victims
A team led by BHF
Professor Rory Collins
combination of two medicines – aspirin and streptokinase, a
clot-buster – which they suspected would be more effective for
heart patients than any single treatment.
This new combination treatment reduced deaths amongst heart
attack patients by around 40 per cent. The
clinical trial - called ISIS2 - also found that the earlier this
combination of medicines was given after a heart attack, the better
the outcome for the patient.
Improving chest pain assessment
BHF Professor Keith Fox leads an
international study to improve treatment for people going to
hospital with chest pain, and assess how the chosen treatment
impacts long-term health.
The global database of patients has enabled Professor Fox and
colleagues to develop a 'risk calculator' that health professionals
in hospital emergency departments can use to accurately assess each
patient and make treatment decisions that give the patient the
best chance of a full recovery.
Watch a video
about the research, with Professor Fox and Elizabeth Scarr - a
heart patient who took part in the global study.
Sadly, around half of heart attacks are still
fatal. Improvements in prevention of heart attacks can be
made with research, which is why we continue to fund scientists to
help us understand more about the underlying processes. For
example, BHF Professor Steve Watson and
his team are deciphering how blood cells form dangerous clots.
Support heart research
We need your donations to help us
fund more cutting-edge heart research.