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Bristol Heart Institute awarded £297,000 for improved blood transfusion methods

23 February 2012

A research team led by Gavin Murphy, Reader in Cardiac Surgery in the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bristol, has been awarded £297,000 by the British Heart Foundation to develop blood transfusion methods that reduce the risk of organ injury during cardiac surgery.

Heart patients receiving red blood cell (RBC) transfusions are at risk of kidney injury and complications relating to endothelial dysfunction, a condition affecting the inner lining of blood vessels which, among other things, can compromise blood clotting and the body’s immune system.

Building on long-term research themes within the department, the research project aims to describe the underlying mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction and organ injury following RBC transfusions. This will be the first study of its kind and it is hoped that the findings will help facilitate clinical trials in the near future.

Mr Murphy said: ‘Establishing an evidence base to guide safer blood transfusion practice will lead to improved outcomes for patients, a reduction in the unnecessary use of a valuable resource – donated blood – and save money that can be used to treat more patients. This grant from the British Heart Foundation underlines the importance of safer blood transfusion to heart surgery patients and we hope will lead to major developments in this field.’

The School of Clinical Sciences is one of eight University departments which, together with local NHS Trusts, form the Bristol Heart Institute.

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