McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Mac researchers cited for top heart disease research

Published: December 24, 2010
Stuart Connelly
Stuart Connolly, a professor of medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine

Research from the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine has been cited as making three of the top 10 cardiovascular research advancements in 2010 by the American Heart Association (AHA).

As well, another study from the school was cited among the top 10 research advancements in stroke treatment for the year by the American Stroke Association.

All of the researchers are also members of the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.

Two McMaster studies headed by professor Dr. Stuart Connolly were credited with providing more options for reducing stroke risk in atrial fibrillation.

The RE-LY study has resultedin the approval of dabigatran by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. Connelly was co-principal investigator of the RE-LY (Randomized Evaluation of Long-term anticoagulant therapY) study, which involved 18,000 patients in 44 countries. 

Connolly’s AVERROES study, stopped early because of success, was also cited. It produced overwhelming evidence that a new oral blood thinner called apixaban prevented stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation who are unsuitable for the conventional treatment of warfarin. The AVERROES (Apixaban Versus Acetylsalicylic Acid to Prevent Strokes) study enrolled 5,600 patients worldwide.

A study helping health-care providers better understand the right anti-clotting (anti-platelet) therapy was also recognized by the AHA. The  CURRENT-OASIS 7 (Clopidogrel Optimal Loading Dose Usage to Reduce Recurrent EveNTs/Optimal Antiplatelet Strategy for InterventionS) study found high doses of the blood thinner clopidogrel significantly reduced complications in heart patients undergoing angioplasty to clear blocked arteries.

The CURRENT-OASIS 7 trial was led by associate professor Dr. Shamir Mehta.

Another significant advance cited by the AHA was the tailoring of treatment for people with diabetes to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. Lead by professor Dr. Hertzel Gerstein, the ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes) study is expected to be helpful in targeting specific treatments that best reduce cardiovascular disease for people with diabetes.

The INTERSTOKE study, led by professors Dr. Salim Yusuf and Dr. Martin O’Donnell, was ranked among the top 10 advances for the year in stroke research. The study identified 10 risk factors associated with 90 per cent of the risk of stroke worldwide:  high blood pressure, smoking, abdominal obesity, diet, physical activity, lipids, diabetes, alcohol intake, stress and depression and heart disorders. The study involved 6,000 people in 22 countries.

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