Clinical care improvements driving heart and lung research

A team of four male and one female researchers stand against a ballustrade
SOPHiST and POPCAB research team with Dr Warren Pavey (centre)
November 27, 2020

The South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) Cardiothoracic Anaesthetic Research Group runs multiple research projects examining heart and lung health and disease.

Two current research projects include the Prothrombinex vs Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP) for bleeding after cardiopulmonary bypass (POPCAB) trial and the Substrate and Oxygen Persufflation of Hearts in Storage for Transplantation (SOPHiST) project.

Staff Specialist Anaesthetist at Fiona Stanley Hospital and Chair of the Heart and Lung Research Institute of Western Australia, Dr Warren Pavey, said both projects involved up to eight co-investigators from multiple disciplines.

“Our projects are inspired by clinical problems that we see while caring for patients having heart or lung surgery or who have heart failure or advanced lung disease,” Dr Pavey said.

“It is motivating and satisfying to be able to investigate these problems looking for causes and possible novel treatments.”

Bleeding requiring treatment in the form of blood transfusions and blood products is common after heart-lung bypass and affects up to 30% of patients. At present when a deficiency in the amount of clotting factors in the blood is thought to be a contributing cause, there are two therapies which may be administered.

The POPCAB trial aims to examine which, if any, of these two blood products is more effective in treating bleeding after heart lung bypass. The information learnt will help better treat bleeding after heart lung bypass and reduce the amount of blood products that patients are exposed to.

The SOPHiST project investigates the novel technique of using gas instead of blood to resuscitate and support donated hearts before transplantation. Gas may provide a more effective, simpler and cheaper method of resuscitation and storage than machines circulating fluid or blood through the heart while outside the body. Better methods of resuscitating hearts after removal from donors and preserving them while transported to a recipient would allow more hearts to be used and more lives saved.

“Our focus is that once these projects are completed, they are published in the scientific literature and form a basis for improving the clinical care of patients,” Dr Pavey said.

“It is critical that as part of a tertiary hospital striving to offer quality care for its patients, we systematically strive to improve care and develop innovative solutions to clinical problems through research.”

The POPCAB project has benefitted from a DOH Research translation project (SHRAC) grant and SOPHiST has received a project grant from the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA).

Read more about research conducted across South Metropolitan Health Service in its 2019 Research Report (external PDF 4.1MB).

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