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Researchers in the Medical Sciences Division have established a key cause of micro blood vessels constricting during surgery to reopen a blocked artery, and identified a potential therapeutic target to block the mechanism behind it.

New approach to reducing damage after a heart attack

Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death in the UK and throughout the Western World. One of the most common ways in which that manifests is through heart attacks, which occurs when one of the heart's arteries is blocked. During a heart attack part of the heart starts to die, which causes pain in the chest and can be life threatening.

Large heart attacks are treated with an emergency procedure to reopen the blocked artery using a balloon and metal tube called a stent. Whilst this procedure is often life saving, in around one third of cases smaller “micro” blood vessels beyond the stent remain constricted causing significant damage. The cause of these micro-vessels being very tightly constricted has so far been unclear.

A new study led by Professor Neil Herring (Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics), Professor Keith Channon (Radcliffe Department of Medicine) and Professor Kim Dora (Department of Pharmacology) has shed light on why this may happen.

Read more (Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics website)