Papworth wins £1.6m to cure fatal chest condition

Consultant surgeon Stephen Large ANL-140619-191504001
Consultant surgeon Stephen Large ANL-140619-191504001

Heart and lung experts at Papworth Hospital have secured £1.6million for a study to find the most effective treatment for a potentially fatal chest condition.

A team of cardiothoracic experts are leading a multi-centre observational study into existing treatments for a thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA). A TAA is a widening or bulging of the largest blood vessel in the body, the aorta, and if this ruptures it can be fatal.

Currently there are two main forms of treatment for TAA – open surgery and a minimally invasive procedure called endovascular stent graft placement - however it has not been proven which is better for the patient and most cost effective.

The five-year ETTAA study (Effective Treatments for Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms), funded by the Health Technology Assessment (HTA), is the largest Papworth Hospital has ever led and aims to discover which of the two treatments is more effective by observing hundreds of patients in specialist centres across the country.

Consultant Surgeon Stephen Large, who is leading the study, said: “I think this study is incredibly important in working out which of the two forms of treatment is better for patients and also which is the most cost-effective for the NHS, as both are expensive to implement.

“Specialist cardiothoracic centres across the UK vary in terms of the treatment they administer to patients with a TAA and so we aim to discover which of the two is most effective so that there is standardised care nationwide.”

Researchers at centres across the country are monitoring the progress of patients on both forms of treatment with the first patients being recruited by Papworth Hospital earlier this year.