Department of Health’s Formal Call for Aortic Dissection Research

Minister's recent formal call for aortic dissection research marks a pivotal moment for progress in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.


February 2023


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When it comes to cardiovascular research, aortic dissection often seems to have been overlooked. National research funding has predominantly favoured ailments like coronary artery disease and hypertension.

One of the most pressing issues we face is the condition’s notorious ability to masquerade as other cardiac issues, making early and accurate diagnosis tricky. Additionally, post-recovery quality of life and survival rates for aortic dissection patients continue to be areas of concern. These challenges make the call from the UK Department of Health & Social Care for focused research in this area not just timely, but vital.

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Helen Whately MP’s recent speech offers valuable insights into the future of aortic dissection research.

“Research is the piece of the puzzle that will drive forward progress and find the treatments of tomorrow…That is why the Department of Health and Social Care brought together a multidisciplinary group of experts and patient representatives in 2020 to consider research priorities for aortic dissection.”

Underscoring the role of research as an essential component for progress in treatments with a 360-degree review of the condition, encompassing everything from diagnosis and treatment to patient care.

“The NIHR invests around £50 million a year on research into cardiovascular disease, including aortic dissection and other heart conditions…It is also vital that we harness our understanding of risk to help prevent aortic dissection.”

The Minister highlighted a specific programme at Barts Health NHS Trust aimed at innovating surgical treatments as a case in point.

“The NIHR funded a major programme of work at Barts Health NHS Trust to develop and test a novel surgical treatment for aortic dissection, which is less invasive than routine care, allowing quicker procedure times and shorter hospital stays. It is also vital that we harness our understanding of risk to help prevent aortic dissection.”

This portion of the speech is the real kicker. It not only acknowledges the growing momentum in aortic dissection research but also acts as a direct invitation to researchers to apply for funding. The government is actively opening its doors and inviting researchers to be part of the solution.

“I encourage researchers working in the field to harness the momentum building around aortic dissection research and to please come forward and make applications for funding.”

What the Future Holds for Aortic Dissection Research

The formal call for aortic dissection research from the UK Department of Health is a turning point. It’s a multi-faceted effort that could act as the catalyst for comprehensive, funded, and impactful change. For all those involved—patients, healthcare providers, and researchers—this could very well be the start of a new chapter in combating this debilitating condition.

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