Each year in the United Kingdom approximately 40,000 people die within three months after major surgery. The most common causes of death involve the heart, including heart attack (myocardial infarction) and heart failure.
Several studies since 2012, using simple blood tests, have shown that up to one in three surgical patients suffer damage to their heart muscle (myocardial injury) and are more likely to die after surgery. Myocardial injury is predominantly asymptomatic (without clinical symptoms) and does not have the typical features of myocardial infarction. However, we do not understand how or why myocardial injury occurs.
Our on-going programme of research aims to identify patients at risk of myocardial injury, understand why myocardial injury occurs and to develop treatments to prevent it occurring in the perioperative period.