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Funding boost for Nepean Hospital world-first cardiology research

29 Nov 2021


A potentially life-saving study from Nepean Hospital’s Cardiology Research team has received a significant boost with a $150,000 Vanguard Grant from The Heart Foundation.

Led by globally renowned researcher and Nepean Hospital cardiologist, Professor Kazuaki Negishi, the research team will trial a novel technique called sonothrombolysis which may help to salvage heart muscle in patients experiencing a heart attack.

Well known to be life-threatening, a heart attack requires an urgent procedure to open the blocked heart artery.

“More than 50 per cent of patients who survive a heart attack have blockages in the tiny blood vessels of the heart which causes poorer patient outcomes, such as poor heart pump function, heart failure and sometimes death,” says Professor Negishi, who is also Head of Medicine at the University of Sydney’s Nepean Clinical School.

Sonothrombolysis uses high power ultrasound to open the tiny arteries whilst infusing a contrast agent and the Nepean Hospital Cardiology Research team will apply the technique in a multicentre clinical trial, funded with the Vanguard Grant, to investigate if the procedure can salvage heart muscle following a heart attack. If successful, the technique may improve heart function, recovery and outcomes for survivors of heart attack.

Professor Negishi says that if proven effective, this technique could be widely adapted for use across Australia and globally.

The results of this research at Nepean Hospital could also be especially important for our local community.

“Nationally, our region has one of the highest risk populations for cardiovascular disease. Once the efficacy of our study is proven, Nepean Blue Mountains residents will be amongst the first to directly benefit from this treatment,” says Professor Negishi.

Professor Negishi says that as well as improving health outcomes, receiving the prestigious Vanguard Grant has the potential to boost the District’s already impressive reputation for cutting-edge research.

“This project will result in multiple PhD projects that will further foster our academic culture,” Professor Negishi says.

The study will run over 2 years, with recruitment to commence in early 2022.