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10th August 2017

A World-First Study Into Unexplained Heart Attacks

Professor John Beltrame AM

We’re excited to announce Professor John Beltrame is the recipient of our inaugural Translational Grant, in partnership with The Hospital Research Foundation. With his passionate team, Prof Beltrame will pioneer the causes and treatment of patients living with chest pain following an ‘unexplained heart attack’.

A typical heart attack occurs when there are cholesterol blockages within the coronary arteries which can be treated with the correct medication. However, for 10 percent of heart attack patients an x-ray of their heart (coronary angiogram) reveals no significant cholesterol blockages in their coronary arteries.

Unfortunately, there is no explanation for why these patients experience a heart attack and most importantly, there are no appropriate treatment methods.

Concerned these patients with ‘unexplained heart attacks’ were being overlooked by clinicians, Prof Beltrame invented the term MINOCA (Myocardial Infarction with NonObstructive Coronary Arteries) as a new diagnosis of the condition.

“This study will be a world-first in examining the role of the microscopic blood vessels in these unexplained heart attacks,” Prof Beltrame said.

“Furthermore, this study is the first to scientifically evaluate if two current standard heart attack treatments alleviate the recurrent chest pain experienced by patients with MINOCA.

“With an estimated 6,000 patients affected by MINOCA each year, the results of this study will have a crucial impact in their care.”

Prof Beltrame will work with Associate Professor Chris Zeitz, who is an interventional cardiologist, helping to understand the challenges in managing patients with MINOCA.

A/Prof Zeitz will lead the microscopic blood vessels studies and the internationally-acclaimed Coronary Angiogram Database of South Australia (CADOSA) will play a key role in the data collection with the support of Dr Rosanna Tavella and Dr Sivabaskari (Tharshy) Pasupathy.

“We will be collaborating internationally with leading researchers from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom. These investigators will not only participate in the treatment study but also in a larger study investigating if these medications prevent future major complications in patients suffering MINOCA,” Prof Beltrame said.

With no specific treatments that have proven to be effective to date, with your support, this research has the ability to change the lives of so many people around the world suffering from chest pain after MINOCA. We look forward to keeping you informed on this life-changing research as it progresses.