Varadkar congratulates Irish Heart Researchers on International Award

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- Stop-HF study included patients with a wide variety of cardiovascular risk factors -

- Royal College of General Practitioners Research ‘Paper of the Year Award’-

The HSE is pleased to announce that a joint hospital and primary care initiative, run from St Vincent’s and sponsored by the Heartbeat Trust, to help prevent Heart Failure (STOP-HF) was recently awarded the ‘Research Paper of the Year’ by the Royal College of General Practitioners, a body representing 48,000 family doctors in the United Kingdom and internationally.

The Royal College of General Practitioners Research ‘Paper of the Year Award’ gives recognition to researchers who have undertaken research relating to general practice or primary care. The STOP-HF study involved more than 1,300 patients from Dublin and the East coast of Ireland. The study showed that using the results of a blood test (BNP) and employing a shared care approach (between patients’ general practitioners and hospital-based cardiologists) can dramatically reduce hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases.

The study included patients with a wide variety of cardiovascular risk factors from 39 general practices. Those patients with an elevated blood test result, received specific cardiac care (including specialist tests, lifestyle advice provided by a cardiovascular nurse and cardiologist reviews along with ongoing care with their GP). The study found that this approach reduced the occurrence of heart failure and significant heart dysfunction by 45% and reduced hospital admissions for other cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke by 40%.

Minister Varadkar congratulated Professor Ken McDonald of St Vincent’s and Heartbeat Trust on the research award when they met recently and said: ‘This study is a great example of collaboration between hospitals and primary care in managing heart failure. It shows what can be achieved through prevention initiatives and chronic disease management.’

Professor Ken McDonald, consultant cardiologist and co-principle investigator in St Vincent’s University Hospital and lead researcher on the STOP-HF study said “The increasing prevalence of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases remains a major public health concern. The STOP-HF study highlights the importance of early detection and intervention for patients with heart problems”

Dr Joe Gallagher, a GP in the Palms Surgery, Gorey who was involved in the study added “By including a broad range of patients with a few exclusion criteria we sought to make the study very applicable to everyday clinical practice”

Dr Mark Ledwidge, co-principle Investigator added “The STOP-HF programme helps bring primary care and secondary care physicians together with information that personalises the cardiovascular risk for individual patients and helps improve outcomes.”

The research team is working with the Health Services Executive, the Health Research Board as well as with international research groups supported by the European Commission to further develop the STOP-HF programme in Ireland and worldwide.