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Personalising Antiplatelet Therapy in Left Ventricular Assist Device Supported Patients

Dr Kavitha Muthiah, Institution: Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

2017 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Years funded: 2018-2020


Some patients with severe heart failure require a mechanical heart pump known as left ventricular assist device to support them whilst waiting for a heart transplant.

Although this pump is good at treating heart failure symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue, they are prone to forming clots within them which may stop the pump from working or lead to stroke. To minimise this risk, patients who are on the pump have to take blood thinning medications.

A normal heart beats rhythmically approximately 70 times a minute, hence generating a periodic pulse, but this mechanical pump generates continuous flow which may cause additional changes to the blood system and vessels.

The combination of blood thinning medications with changes to blood system and vessels due to the continuous flow causes bleeding, especially from the stomach and bowel.

The aim of this study is to correlate changes in the blood system and proteins involved in new blood vessel formation. We hope to use the information obtained to formulate an algorithm that will allow blood thinning medication use to be individualised and thereby minimise the combined risks of bleeding and blood clot formation in patients who require a left ventricular assist device in the future.

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