Published: Friday, January 29th, 2016

Annual Review highlights breakthrough research at Golden Jubilee



Today, Friday 29 January 2016, at the Golden Jubilee Foundation hosted their Annual Review, chaired by Minister for Public Health, Maureen Watt MSP.


The Golden Jubilee Foundation is made up of the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Conference Hotel, Research Institute and Innovation Centre. Annual  Reviews provide a public forum for review, discussion and analysis of the last 12 months, as well as  an opportunity for members of the public and government colleagues to scrutinise, comment and feedback on any areas of success and aspects where and NHS Board could have performed better.


During the Minister for Public Health’s visit to the Golden Jubilee, she learned more about the groundbreaking LEADERS-FREE trial. The study by in house researchers has shown that thousands of patients every year could benefit from a new type of stent which has been shown to improve outcomes in high risk patients.

Over the past 10 years, an increasing number of patients with diseased heart arteries have been treated with drug eluting stents (DES), which are used to re-open a blocked or narrowed artery and allow blood to flow normally. Compared to previously used bare metal stents (BMS), these dramatically reduce the risk of re-stenosis (re-narrowing) in the artery. However, DES are not suitable for all patients, as some individuals, including elderly patients or those already on blood thinning tablets, are at high risk of bleeding.


Professor Keith Oldroyd, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, said: “In spite of the major advances in interventional cardiology in recent years - including the advent of DES, around 20% of patients in the UK are still receiving BMS.


“DES are very effective but they have a polymer (plastic) coating and take longer to fully heal inside the artery than BMS. As a consequence, patients have to take blood thinning tablets for six to 12 months afterwards, which has meant that, up till now, those at high risk of bleeding had to receive a bare metal stent. These are not nearly as good as DES and carry a much higher risk of re-narrowing of the arteries.”


The Golden Jubilee was the lead UK centre in the international, multi-centre, LEADERS-FREE trial, which tested a new type of DES which does not have a polymer coating: this means that it heals more quickly, allowing one of the necessary blood thinning tablets to be stopped after only one month, reducing the risk of bleeding in patients.


The trial compared this new stent to a traditional BMS in almost 2,500 patients currently considered unsuitable for DES treatment because of a high bleeding risk, including older patients, individuals with an existing need for blood thinning tablets such as warfarin and patients on certain arthritis treatments which can cause bleeding.


The results confirmed that not only did the new DES have a lower risk of re-narrowing, but it also proved to be much safer with patients at a dramatically reduced risk of suffering another heart attack.


Professor Oldroyd added: “At the Golden Jubilee, our vision is to lead quality, research and innovation on behalf of the NHS in Scotland, and the LEADERS FREE trial is a fantastic step forward in that objective. These are brilliant results and are very important for the future of interventional cardiology. This means that patients that were previously treated with a bare metal stent due to a high risk of bleeding can now be treated with a drug coated stent with the potential to improve outcomes, reduce hospitalisations and offer a better quality of life for thousands of people every year.”


Maureen Watt MSP, Minister for Public Health, also commented on the research, saying: “The Scottish Government welcomes this important research undertaken by the Golden Jubilee Foundation, as part of their focus on increasing innovation in NHSScotland. The LEADERS-FREE trial offers significant improved treatment for thousands of patients and it is promising to see the results delivered so far.”


Medical Director at the Golden Jubilee, Dr Mike Higgins, said: “We are dedicated to constantly finding new ways to improve the standard of care and quality of life for all of our patients and we are extremely proud of our teams’ role as the UK lead on this groundbreaking piece of work.


“This is a fantastic development with the potential to make real, positive changes to the lives of patients all across Scotland, and around the world.”



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