Cardiovascular trials at the NIHR Leeds CRF are aimed at finding new ways to diagnose, treat – and even prevent – coronary artery disease, heart disease and heart failure.

Between 30-40% of our trials are run in collaboration with pharmaceutical and medical device companies, both large and small. Recent partners include Boston Scientific, Medtronic and Abbott Vascular.

The rest of our work is primarily funded through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)Medical Research Council (MRC) and through medical charities such as the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Our portfolio includes early phase trials of new drug treatments for cardiovascular disease, assessing safety and tolerable doses, but we do much more than that. Much of our work also involves looking at complex experimental procedures or techniques as part of later stage clinical trials.

Because of the nature of treatments for cardiovascular diseases, many of our trials involve surgical intervention. We trial new surgical techniques, such as the use of keyhole surgery in cardiovascular operations such as valve repair/replacement, or new devices, such as defibrillators, complex pacemakers or coronary stents.

We also look at the innovative use of new or known drugs within surgical procedures, such as injection directly into the artery during an operation or even during a heart attack, to identify if this can improve the outcome or reduce damage to the heart. Other trials include investigating the safety and efficacy of administering stem cells or new drugs directly into the heart, to aid repair or improve function.

Other areas of our work involve trialling new imaging techniques, such as the latest cardiac MRI techniques, for use in improving diagnosis and risk stratification. We also conduct trials of preventative medicines, to identify if certain drugs can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in certain sections of the population.

Our state-of-the-art imaging equipment, including MRI, CT and ultrasound, alongside our specialist physiology suite, enables us to accurately assess the impact of new treatments, devices or techniques, both in terms of heart function, exercise capacity and quality of life.