Dr Maria Pufulete and Associate Professor Ben Gibbison have been given an NIHR Accelerator Award to set up a platform trial in Cardiac Surgery. Platform trials are designed to test multiple treatments against a common control group. Treatments that do not work are quickly removed and new ones added. As we can test multiple interventions at once, we can get to the answers faster – this means that we can get these answers for patients more rapidly.

This is the first platform trial to be set up in cardiac surgery in the UK. The trial will be run through the Bristol Trials Centre but will involve collaborators from cardiac surgery centres across the country and trial methodologists who have experience in running platform studies in cancer and Covid-19. It is supported by the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons, The Association for Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Critical Care and the National Cardiac Surgery Clinical Trials Initiative and the Heart Surgery Priority Setting Partnership National Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) group.

Patients exercisingThe study will initially look at interventions that prevent atrial fibrillation after heart surgery. Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal rhythm of the heart that affects about 30-50% of people after heart surgery.

People who have AF after heart surgery stay in hospital longer and have a higher risk of having complications, such as a stroke. The aim is that in the future, we can use the platform to trial anything that we think might improve outcomes for patients having heart surgery.

8 March 2023