Researchers are launching a new clinical trial into a rare heart condition, with a £1.4million grant from the British Heart Foundation and funding from the Marfan Trust. The research into Marfan Syndrome will look at a potentially life-saving treatment, in a trial involving 500 patients, led by the team from Royal Brompton Hospital with St George’s and research support from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

Marfan Syndrome is an inherited condition, affecting one in 3,300 people in the UK. It affects the body's connective tissues, which provide support and structure to other tissue and organs. The symptoms vary from person to person and can affect blood vessels, heart and the skeleton. Marfan Syndrome can cause the wall of the main blood vessel in the heart, known as the aorta, to expand. Without treatment, the aorta can eventually rupture, leading to life threatening bleeding and death. The Aortic Irbesartan Marfan Study (AIMS) study will help to investigate whether a commonly used blood pressure treatment, Irbesartan, could reduce the expansion of the aorta and delay the need for major surgery.

 



The AIMS study is UK-wide, sponsored by Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust with support from St George’s, University of London, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and the NIHR. Other partners include Oxford University and the Marfan Association. The study will be conducted in more than 25 hospitals, recruiting patients with Marfan Syndrome aged six to 40 years, who have not had heart surgery.

The researchers believe strongly that working in collaboration with other groups including patients will achieve the best possible care and treatments. The study will start enrolling patients in May after several years of planning. People with Marfan Syndrome who are interested in taking part in the study, should talk to their local GP or Consultant. For more information on the study visit www.rbht.nhs.uk/aims/

Patients will also be recruited through the St George’s, University of London patient database and seen in the Marfan Syndrome clinic, which is held twice weekly at St George’s and staffed by Dr Anne Child and Dr Anand Saggar. Further information about the St George’s research programme is available at www.marfantrust.org.