$1.8 million grant to advance stroke and heart complications research for patients post-surgery

Researchers and clinicians from the Westmead Health Precinct and the University of Sydney have been awarded $1.8 million to advance research into reducing the risk of stroke and heart complications in patients undergoing major surgery.

Many Australians have major surgery each year, with approximately three percent developing atrial fibrillation (AF), an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm that can lead to blood clots and increase the risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

Current research shows that anticoagulation, more commonly known as blood thinners can reduce stroke risk in people with established AF.

The research team, led by Professor Clara Chow, will explore the development of AF following major surgery and determine whether blood thinners will improve health outcomes and decrease the risk of stroke.

The research is funded through the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund.

“We know that these medications can reduce stroke risk in people with established AF but it is unclear whether AF brought on by surgery can be treated in the same way,” said Professor Chow, Cardiologist at Westmead Hospital, Western Sydney Local Health District Board Member, Academic Director of the Westmead Applied Research Centre in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, Academic Co-Director of the Charles Perkins Centre at Westmead.

“This research is likely to have a direct impact on clinical guidelines and how we treat patients in the future.”

“We are pleased to be partnering with collaborators in Canada and Demark on this international study.”

WSLHD chief executive Mr Graeme Loy said this outstanding study out of the Westmead Health Precinct will lead the way in cardiac research.

Our amazing research teams are world leaders and this support from the Federal Government will accelerate new protocols and improve the lives patients and hopefully prevent the risk of a stroke,” Mr Loy said.