Paul Heesom, Warrington Businessman, Awarded Pumping Marvellous Fundraiser of the Year 2017

Paul Heesom, Warrington Businessman, Awarded Fundraiser of the Year 2017

The Pumping Marvellous Foundation, the UK’s Heart Failure Charity Recognise the Impact of One Man’s Contribution to People Living with Heart Failure

Paul Heesom, Warrington Businessman, Awarded Fundraiser of the Year 2017

Warrington, Cheshire, Thursday 7th December 2017 – The Management Team from The Pumping Marvellous Foundation paid a surprise visit to Paul Heesom’s Gents Hair Salon on Mersey Street, Warrington, to present him with their highly coveted ‘Fundraiser of the Year’ award for 2017.  The UK’s Heart Failure Charity wanted to recognise the huge contribution Paul has made to the UK’s heart failure community during 2017 with this personal gesture.

Between 9th and 16th September 2017, Paul braved the crocodile-infested waters of the mighty Zambezi River in aid of people living with heart failure across the UK.  The week-long epic adventure pushed Paul to his limits kayaking and rafting gigantic grade 5 raging white water rapids and circumnavigating pods of hippos and crocodiles on his 200-mile trip down Africa’s fourth longest river.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience was Paul’s way of giving something back to a charity which gave support to his family following the loss of his father, Roy, in January 2016.

“Losing Dad to heart failure was a devastating blow to my family and myself.  The Pumping Marvellous website and literature helped Mum and the family try and understand why he had been taken from us at a relatively young age.  Sharing thoughts with others helped immensely.  Giving something back to Pumping Marvellous as a way of a thank you was something I felt I wanted to do and in doing so, raising awareness of heart failure.”

Indeed, Paul has not been the only member of his family to support Pumping Marvellous during 2017.  His Mum, Ann, along with her friend, Kathy, held an additional fundraising social event with their Best Western Line Dancers group in May.

“What a hoot we had!  It was a fabulous night.  We were blown away by people’s generosity and they really bought into Pumping Marvellous.”

In fact, Paul’s selflessness and truly inspiring nature was also recognised at The Warrington Guardian Inspiration Awards in November.

Nick Hartshorne-Evans, Founder and CEO of The Pumping Marvellous Foundation, the UK’s Heart Failure Charity said:

“Paul’s fundraising endeavours have enabled us to supply NHS teams across the North West of England with vital patient information.  His sterling efforts will ensure that patients are supported on their journey with this life-changing condition.  It was a huge honour to meet Paul in person and he is a true Pumping Marvellous Super Hero.”

If you would like to support Paul and The Pumping Marvellous Foundation, you can still donate by visiting


Ends – For more information please contact The Pumping Marvellous Foundation +44 (0) 1772 796542 or +44 (0) 7854 407050


Notes for Editors

The Pumping Marvellous Foundation (PMF) is the UK’s patient led Heart Failure charity. It was founded by a heart failure patient whose experiences whilst rehabilitating have shaped the Foundation’s goals and principles of a patient-centric charity focused on improved patient outcomes.


Heart Failure affects 900,000 people in the UK –


Heart failure is debilitating and outcomes are poor: 5 year survival rate is worse than breast or prostate cancer –


30-40% of those diagnosed with heart failure die within the first year –


Heart failure is a major cost to the NHS. It is a leading cause of hospital admission in over 65s –


Paul Heesom Pumping Marvellous Fundraiser of the Year
Paul Heesom Ann Heesom and the Pumping Marvellous Foundation, Warrington
Marvellous Awards 2018 Tooting Cardiologist Wins Roy Award

Marvellous Awards 2018 Tooting Cardiologist Wins Roy Award

Heart Failure Health Care Professional recognised for marvellous quality of care by the UK’s Heart Failure charity. The Pumping Marvellous Foundation awards “THE ROY AWARD” for outstanding contribution to Heart Failure services.

Dr Lisa Anderson Heart Failure Cardiologist based at St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust, Tooting – Wins National Roy Award

Preston, Lancashire, December 2017 – . Sponsored by The Pumping Marvellous Foundation, the Roy Award is the charity’s CEO’s discretionary award to an individual who he feels has shown outstanding contribution and excellence in heart failure care. This award reflects the direct impact this person has had on their local community whilst, producing the highest standards of care for their patients.

Dr Lisa Anderson, Consultant Cardiologist, who works at St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust, has been awarded The Roy Award. CEO and Founder Nick Hartshorne-Evans has commended Dr Anderson for her outstanding focus and services to heart failure.

The Roy Award is a special yearly award presented to Healthcare Professionals who deliver excellence. The award is in memory of Roy Heesom who died of heart failure in 2016 and his family’s subsequent work to raise the awareness of heart failure along with their fundraising efforts and achievements.

As the representative of the UK Heart Failure patients’ voice, The Pumping Marvellous Foundation emphasises the importance of the patient perspective in recognising and rewarding Health Care Professionals.

“I am delighted to award Dr Lisa Anderson on her outstanding contribution to heart failure services at St Georges Hospital. Every time I meet Lisa, she is full of passion and drive to ensure her patients and families of those patients get the very best service she can deliver with her team. This is a fantastic achievement and Lisa should be proud of herself as we are very proud to award this special award to her this year”, explains Nick Hartshorne Evans, Founder and CEO of The Pumping Marvellous Foundation.

Awards are currently being received by Health Care Professionals this week alongside a personalised commendation letter explaining the reasons behind their selection.

“Congratulations to all the winners. We recognise that there are so many fantastic Health Care Professionals out there and to all those who haven’t won, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your amazing work,” says Angela Graves, Clinical Lead of The Pumping Marvellous Foundation.


Ends – For more information please contact The Pumping Marvellous Foundation +44 (0) 1772 796542 or +44 (0) 7854 407050,


Notes for Editors

The Pumping Marvellous Foundation (PMF) is the UK’s patient led Heart Failure charity. It was founded by a heart failure patient whose experiences whilst rehabilitating have shaped the Foundation’s goals and principles of a patient-centric charity focused on improved patient outcomes.


Heart Failure affects 900,000 people in the UK –


Heart failure is debilitating and outcomes are poor: 5 year survival rate is worse than breast or prostate cancer –


30-40% of those diagnosed with heart failure die within the first year –


Heart failure is a major cost to the NHS. It is a leading cause of hospital admission in over 65s –



Fifty Years of Heart Transplant

Heart Transplant Success -The Impact of Dr Barnard Fifty Years On –

Heart failure patient Sarah shares her thoughts on the enormous impact of the game-changing, world’s-first heart transplant achievement in 1967 and says thank you for the bravery and skills, still giving us hope today.

“It’s hard to believe that it was fifty years ago today that surgeon Christiaan Barnard, (1922-2001), performed the very first human -to -human heart transplant surgery. Amazingly, for such a cutting edge operation, four out of Barnard’s first 10 patients survived for over a year. One of them lived for an astounding 23 years post transplant.

Over the past half century, Barnard’s milestone procedure has become a fairly routine surgery (which can be performed in as little as four hours). The British Heart Foundation suggests that as many as 200 heart transplants are now carried out every year in the UK alone and some 3,500 worldwide annually.

Continued research into the use of anti-rejection drugs has ensured that the likelihood of a positive outcome, post transplant has increased greatly. Groundbreaking advances continue to improve these odds even more. In fact, current research shows that a drug designed to treat diabetes has shown promise as a low-side-effect, anti- rejection drug for transplant patients. Another step towards a longer, healthier life post transplant. Read more here.

We all have Christiaan Barnard and his team to thank for the enduring impact of this surgery and for the hope that his bravery and innovation bring to so many of us with insufficient heart function.

Fifty years ago today Barnard made one of the first and most groundbreaking steps on the road to making heart transplant surgery what it is today. However, as a patient this is sometimes a double-edged sword because even with five decades of improvements in surgical techniques and post-operative care, despite the incredible bravery of medical staff, patients and donor families alike, it is still, only a small percentage of patients in need that go on to receive a heart transplant.

Organ donation, though vitally important is not something that everyone considers. Unfortunately the notion of donating is not progressing as fast as medical research is and for patients with heart failure this can be another worry in an already stressful situation. Member of our heart failure community, Julie Bartlett who is waiting on the transplant list, made this point:

“Organ Donation is always bitter sweet, but I also firmly believe that as our generation recycles everything (paper plastic cans etc) to save our planet, why wouldn’t you recycle your organs to save someone’s life?”

The idea that somebody else’s life must be forfeit so that yourself or a loved one can live, is a tough one to reconcile. This is difficult enough alone, without the added worry of the tough selection criteria to be added to the transplant list and the awkward balance of being too unwell or, conversely too well for the surgery. The knowledge that someone else’s family is grieving a loved one to give a lucky patient another chance at life makes this a complicated situation all round. So it’s really no surprise that heart transplants happen in low numbers. Barnard’s legacy will always be a bittersweet one but he, and others working towards a longer and healthier life for heart failure patients, offers hope in what can seem a bleak outlook.

>You can register to be an organ donor at NHS Organ Donation Register. Please share your decision with family and friends<

We all know that there are other procedures, medications and devices that help keep heart failure patients stable, and that new developments are continually changing the playing field for this condition. Breakthroughs in ‘Heart in a box’ and LVAD technology and the positive results in immunosuppressant therapy will all make a huge difference to patients living with compromised heart function and to their families.

We are lucky to be living in a time where HF can be stabilised by medication, lessening the likelihood for more of us than ever that a transplant is necessary. All of this is marvellously positive but it’s still good to have the hope of a new heart should it be needed.

Fifty years on, we still thank you Dr Barnard for giving us this hope.”


Med Tech Keeping-Britain-Working

Med Tech – Keeping Britain Working

The Med Tech Group are calling on NHS England to rethink ‘sticking plaster’ approach to medical technology.

A report, launched today, has identified how better use of medical technology can help the Government save up to £476m in welfare spending through improved use of medical technology.

The Medical Technology Group have updated the 2011 study on ‘How medical technology can help reduce the cost of ill health to the UK economy. The report looks at eight clinical areas: orthopaedics, implantable cardiac defibrillators, insulin pumps for diabetes care, sepsis, fibroid embolisation, pain management, wound care and percutaneous coronary interventions, finding that technology could support £476.5m worth of savings at the same time as helping over 230,000 patients.

Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs)
ICDs support people with abnormal heart rhythms to live and work. The MTG found that the UK Government currently saves £3m per year through patients returning to work with an ICD.
If the UK got the number of people with an ICD up to the European average they would save a total of £4.3m.

Read or download the full Med Tech Group report here > ‘Keeping Britain Working: How medical technology can help reduce the cost of ill health to the UK economy.’


Keeping Britain Working: How medical technology can help reduce the cost of ill health to the UK economy

Paul Heesom's Zambezi Blast for Heart Failure Charity

Paul’s Marvellous Zambezi Blast

Read why Paul Heesom is braving crocodile-infested waters for our heart failure charity this month with a global adventure, the Pumping Marvellous Zambezi Blast

On September 9th, Paul Heesom begins a week-long trip to push his boundaries, on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in aid of people living with heart failure across the UK, on his epic 200-mile trip along the world’s wildest water run, the Zambezi Blast!


“Losing Dad to heart failure in January 2016 was a devastating blow to my family and myself. He was our cheeky chappy. The life and soul and would light up any room. I miss him terribly.


The Pumping Marvellous website and literature helped Mum and the family try and understand why he had been taken from us at a relatively young 75. Sharing thoughts with others helped immensely.


Giving something back to Pumping Marvellous as way of a thank you was something I felt I wanted to do, and in so doing raising awareness to heart failure.


Two years ago, as part of a 40 strong team, I scaled Mt Kilimanjaro and as a group we set a Guinness World Record for the Highest ever game of Rugby League. Dad was immensely proud of what myself and the team had managed to achieve. So with that feat in mind I set about finding a similar challenge to take me out of my comfort zone yet again. With the help of Global Adventures Ltd I found just that Challenge. On 9th September 2017 I will fly to Zambia in Southern Africa to take on the Mighty Zambezi River. Again as part of a team I will Kayak and raft 200 miles of raging white water rapids in the Batoka gorg.


Dad was a prolific traveller and Africa was one of his favourite destinations. I’m sure he would’ve love the thought of this adventure. Gigantic Grade 5 rapids, camping out under the stars in the African bush. Pods of Hippos and Crocodiles to circumnavigate. Along with all the other wild animals and creepy crawlies that Zambia has to throw at us.


Training for this challenge has been tough and arduous but it’s all gone really well. I’m feeling ultra fit and chomping at the bit to get started at the foot of the great Victoria Falls.


A huge thankyou to The Pumping Marvellous family and all who have donated to my justgiving page so far, you’ve all been a massive help and support in bringing this challenge together. I won’t let you down guys! ❤️”


There is still time to donate to Paul’s epic challenge – Please visit his fundraising page to add your support and add messages of encouragement.

If you feel it might be time to take on your own challenge of a lifetime, please visit Global Adventure Challenges and ask to fundraise for the Pumping Marvellous Foundation, the UK’s heart failur echarity.

Click here to find out more about heart failure.

NIQOR National Heart Failure Audit

More Patients than Ever Surviving Heart Failure, National Audit Finds

More patients than ever surviving heart failure following key improvements, audit finds

Acute heart failure necessitating hospital admission is a life threatening condition. The quality of care including specialist involvement during an admission, determines the immediate and long-term outcomes including likelihood of survival. Yet while the audit reports several improvements, it also found that the quality of care varies from one hospital to another, and within a hospital, between the specialist and other wards.


The audit is commissioned by the Health Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patients Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP).


The latest National Heart Failure (HF) Audit is the largest to date and is based on 66,695 admissions to hospitals in England and Wales between April 2015 and March 2016. This represents 82% of HF admissions as the patient’s primary diagnosis in England and 77% in Wales.


The National HF Audit monitors the treatment and care of people with an unscheduled admission to hospital who are discharged with a primary diagnosis of heart failure. This is the 9th National HF Audit report which reports data from 137 NHS Trusts in England and 6 Health Boards in Wales.


  • During hospital admissions more than 90% of patients received an echocardiogram, a key diagnostic test. However, rates are higher for those admitted to cardiology (96%) than general medical (85%) wards. Specialist input irrespective of the place of admission is associated with higher rates (95%) of echocardiography.


  • The prescription of key disease-modifying medicines for patients with HF and a reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (HF-REF) has increased, including beta- blockers (87%) and mineralocorticoid antagonists (53%); treatments that are both life-saving and inexpensive.


  • Prescription rates for all three key disease modifying medications [angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI), beta-blockers (BB) and mineralocorticoid (aldosterone) receptor antagonist (MRA)] for patients with HF-REF has increased from 35% to 53% for those admitted to Cardiology wards over the last six years.


  • Irrespective of the place of admission, 47% of patients with HF-REF seen by a member of the specialist HF team as an inpatient, were prescribed all three disease modifying drugs, a key performance indicator (KPI). This has increased from 45% in 2014-15, albeit with considerable room for further improvement.


  • The number of patients seen by HF specialists remains high at 80% in 2015-16. In particular, HF nurses saw more HF patients admitted onto general medical wards (33%) than in 2014-15 (24%). This is important as specialist care improves mortality.


  • The mortality of patients hospitalised with heart failure is significantly lower in 2015-16 at 8.9% compared to 9.6% in 2014-15. However, mortality remains high and there are large variations in mortality amongst hospitals.
  • HF mortality rates in hospital are better for those admitted to cardiology wards.


  • If the patients identified within this audit cycle as having HF-REF, who left hospital on none of the three disease modifying drugs had been prescribed all three, then upwards of an additional 212 patients would likely have been alive at the time of census. With more comprehensive prescription and dose optimisation across the audit there is the ability to prevent numerous additional deaths.


Professor Theresa McDonagh, Clinical Lead for Cardiology and Heart Failure at King’s College Hospital, London and the HF Audit Clinical Lead said, “These results from our National Audit, are encouraging but leave room for further improvement. For the first time we have seen a small improvement in mortality in hospital, at 30 days and at one year. Hopefully we are now beginning to see the effects of better management of Heart Failure in hospital. We know how to diagnose it, investigate it and (for the majority of patients with reduced ejection fraction), we have effective treatments.  Specialist care in hospital matters. Getting onto the correct drugs matters and coordinated specialist care post discharge matters. There is still much to do! The audit provides the data to allow health care providers to engineer change to deliver better care.”


Dr Suzanna Hardman, Consultant Cardiologist and Whittington Health HF lead said, “The audit provides a wealth of hospital specific data alongside stark overall messages and has the potential to drive improvements in the quality of care. We have seen this in the most recent cycle with reductions in inpatient and subsequent mortality, attributed to early access to diagnosis with HF specialist care involving cardiologists and HF nurses, the prescription of disease modifying drugs and HF specialist follow up within two weeks of leaving hospital. But this pattern of care, which follows the most recent NICE guidance, and related standards, is still not accessed by all. This failure to implement current guidance continues to contribute to avoidable premature deaths. Variations in care both within a hospital and between hospitals are reported. It is time to ensure that all HF patients have a higher priority and timely access to the specialist unit and all that follows”.


The report authors also recommend all services dealing with heart failure patients (virtually all hospitals), and those commissioning HF services, study these findings and develop robust pathways where all patients are seen by a specialist who supervises their medication, both in hospital and, especially, on discharge and on review. Otherwise these patients will continue to experience excess readmission and mortality, they warn.

The full report will be published on the NICOR website on Thursday 10th August 2017 at

Cardiotrophin – How to trick your heart into thinking you exercise

Cardiotrophin – How to trick your heart into thinking you exercise

Cardiotrophin improves heart health and repairs damage in lab models

Researchers have discovered that a protein called cardiotrophin 1 (CT1) can trick the heart into growing in a healthy way and pumping more blood, just as it does in response to exercise and pregnancy. They show that this good kind of heart growth is very different from the harmful enlargement of the heart that occurs during heart failure. They also show that CT1 can repair heart damage and improve blood flow in animal models of heart failure. The results are published in Cell Research. The research team is from The Ottawa Hospital, the University of Ottawa, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and Carleton University.

Heart failure is a leading cause of death and disability in high-income countries and a growing problem around the world. It occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood through the body, often because a heart attack has damaged the heart muscle tissue.

“When part of the heart dies, the remaining muscles try to adapt by getting bigger, but this happens in a dysfunctional way and it doesn’t actually help the heart pump more blood,” said Dr. Lynn Megeney, senior author of the study and a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa.

“We found that CT1 causes heart muscles to grow in a more healthy way and it also stimulates blood vessel growth in the heart. This actually increases the heart’s ability to pump blood, just like what you would see with exercise and pregnancy.”

Dr. Megeney and his colleagues conducted a variety of studies in mice, rats and cells growing in the lab. In addition to CT-1, some of the studies involved a drug called phenylephrine (PE), which is known to cause the bad kind of heart growth. They found:

  • Heart muscle cells treated with CT-1 become longer, healthier fibres, while those treated with PE just grow wider.
  • CT-1 causes blood vessels to grow alongside the new heart muscle tissue and increases the heart’s ability to pump blood, while PE does neither.
  • When CT-1 treatment stops, the heart goes back to its original condition, just like it does when exercise or pregnancy end. However, the dysfunctional heart growth caused by PE is irreversible.
  • CT-1 dramatically improves heart function in two animal models of heart failure — one caused by a heart attack (affecting the left side of the heart) and one caused by high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension, affecting the right side of the heart).
  • Both CT-1 and PE stimulate heart muscle growth through a molecular pathway that has traditionally been associated with promoting cell suicide (apoptosis), but CT-1 has a better ability to control this pathway.

“This experimental therapy is very exciting, particularly because it shows promise in treating both left and right heart failure,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, a cardiologist, senior scientist and co-senior author on the paper who is also Executive Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and a professor at the University of Ottawa. “Currently, the only treatment for right heart failure is a transplant. And although we have drugs that can reduce the symptoms of left heart failure, we can’t fix the problem, and left heart failure often leads to right heart failure over time.”

“An intriguing aspect of this research was how human CT1 was able to promote a healthy growth response in multiple animal models,” said co-author Dr. Patrick Burgon, scientist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa. “This suggests the action of CT1 is universally conserved and puts us much closer to therapy.”

The researchers also note that while exercise could theoretically have the same benefits as CT-1, people with heart failure are usually limited in their ability to exercise.

Dr. Megeney and Dr. Stewart have patents pending for the use of CT-1 to treat heart conditions and they hope to develop partnerships to test this protein in patients. If this testing is successful it will take a number of years for the treatment to become widely available.

Pericytes Potential to Reverse Heart Damage

Pericytes Potential to Reverse Heart Damage

New pericytes discovery could reverse tissue damage caused by heart attacks

A new discovery by University of Bristol scientists helps to explain how cells which surround blood vessels, called pericytes, stimulate new blood vessels to grow with the hormone ‘leptin’ playing a key role. Leptin is produced by fat cells which helps to regulate energy balance in the body by inhibiting the appetite. This study, described in Scientific Reports, may have important implications for the treatment of heart attacks and also for cancer, the two main killers in the UK.

The growth of new blood vessels, called ‘angiogenesis’, is an important process occurring both in health and disease. It is involved in the repair of tissues following injury but also has an essential role in the growth and spread of cancer.

The Heart Research UK-funded project studied how pericytes encourage the growth of new blood vessels and the role of leptin, and provides important new information about the mechanisms involved.

One of the current treatments for heart attack is coronary artery bypass surgery. This uses blood vessels from the leg, or elsewhere in the body, to bypass the blocked artery and improve blood flow to the heart muscle. This is invasive and major surgery, with a long recovery time. In the longer term, these findings may help in the development of an alternative treatment to major surgery for heart attack patients.

Importantly, the team found that pericytes produced 40-times more leptin when exposed to low levels of oxygen and that this continued until oxygen levels returned to normal. This may help tissues to build more blood vessels to increase blood flow and oxygen supply. Together with other findings, the research shows that leptin has several important actions which encourage new blood vessel growth in areas where tissues are deprived of oxygen.

In most cases, a heart attack is when a coronary artery becomes blocked and the resulting lack of blood supply to the heart muscle can lead to a damaged heart.  Professor Madeddu’s team has shown that by stimulating the growth of new blood vessels, pericytes have the potential to restore blood supply to damaged heart muscle after a heart attack.

Paolo Madeddu, Professor of Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine from the School of Clinical Sciences, who leads the project at the Bristol Heart Institute, said:

“This new discovery could have important implications for the treatment of heart attacks, which is when a main coronary artery gets blocked, but also cancer. These results reveal a new signalling mechanism that may have a far-reaching and significant impact on cardiovascular regenerative medicine.

“Increasing leptin in pericytes in a damaged heart might help it to heal faster, whereas blocking the production of leptin in cancerous pericytes might starve the tumour of nutrients and force it to shrink.”

Barbara Harpham, Chief Executive of Heart Research UK, added: “This translational research project is a good example of research that aims to benefit patients as soon as possible. Professor Madeddu and the team have made some important new discoveries. Understanding more about the processes involved may help pave the way for the development of new treatments for heart attacks which could replace coronary bypass operations.”

Paper: The adipokine leptin modulates adventitial pericyte functions by autocrine and paracrine signalling’ by Paolo Madeddu et al in Scientific Reports [open access]

Marketing Authorisation Granted for Veltessa® (Patiromer) To Treat Patients With Hyperkalaemia

Marketing Authorisation Granted for Veltessa® (Patiromer) To Treat Hyperkalaemia


Patiromer is a sodium-free potassium binder licensed for the treatment of hyperkalaemia in adult patients. Hyperkalaemia is a potentially life-threatening condition which can cause fatal cardiac arrest and muscle paralysis. This therapy can also be made available to patients who develop hyperkalaemia while being treated with Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone-System (RAAS) inhibitor therapy – typically used in heart failure (HF) and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The European licensing of patiromer, which applies to the UK, marks the first new drug developed specifically for the treatment of hyperkalaemia in nearly 60 years. Patiromer is a potassium binder that helps to enable optimal dosing of life-preserving therapies in heart failure and chronic kidney disease, and will be available for use in the UK later this year.

Hyperkalaemia presents a challenge for both cardiologists and nephrologists when managing existing RAAS inhibitor therapy which can lead to elevated potassium. Previously, treatment options that manage potassium overload have been limited to therapies first developed nearly 60 years ago. Dr Robert Lewis, Consultant Nephrologist and Chief of Service of the Wessex Kidney Centre in Portsmouth Hospital adds, “The licensing of patiromer is an important advance for clinicians treating the estimated one million people living with chronic kidney disease and hyperkalaemia. With this drug, nephrologists will be able to optimise the management CKD using agents which are of proven value, but which have until now been limited by their tendency to elevate potassium levels”.

In the UK, around 2.6 million people suffer with late stage CKD, around half of which have hyperkalaemia. There are also nearly one million HF patients, of which 2-3% are thought to have hyperkalaemia. Current guidelines recommend treating HF and CKD patients with RAAS inhibitors, but despite their proven benefit, they can also lead to elevated potassium levels which can potentially lead to organ failure. Patiromer has been found to optimise treatment of cardiovascular and renal conditions by safely reducing potassium and addressing challenges clinicians face with current treatment regimens.

“For nearly 60 years there have been no new treatments specifically developed and indicated for persistent elevated potassium, available in Europe,” says Marco Windisch, General Manager, Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma UK Ltd. “The European Commission licencing of patiromer in hyperkalaemia will help many patients better manage elevated potassium and get the maximum benefit from their life preserving renin angiotensin aldosterone system inhibitor therapy.”

Patiromer has been indicated to treat hyperkalaemia, a potentially life-threatening condition in which there is an abnormally high concentration of potassium ions in the blood (with serum potassium levels >5 mmol/l or >5.5 mmol/l) which is associated with increased risk of mortality. HF and CKD patients are at highest risk of developing hyperkalaemia as a result of RAAS inhibitors.

However, RAAS inhibitor treatments inhibit renal potassium excretion, improve CKD patient outcomes and when combined with beta blockers to form ‘triple therapy’, can reduce mortality by 30% in HF patients.

  • The EC licensing of patiromer is based on a comprehensive clinical development programme that included the following studies:
    Pivotal Phase III OPAL-HK study, which evaluated patiromer treatment in patients with hyperkalaemia and CKD who were taking RAAS inhibitors.
  • Phase II AMETHYST-DN trial, which evaluated the use of patiromer over 52 weeks in patients with hyperkalaemia, CKD and type 2 diabetes who were taking RAAS inhibitors.
  • An open-label, Phase I study that evaluated the onset-of-action of patiromer in CKD patients with hyperkalaemia.
microneedle patches with influenza vaccine

Microneedle Patches for Flu Immunisation Phase I Trial

Microneedle patches provide an alternative to conventional needle-and-syringe immunisation, and potentially offer improved immunogenicity, simplicity, cost-effectiveness, acceptability, and safety. In a recent Phase I trial, safety, immunogenicity, and acceptability of the first-in-man study on single, dissolvable microneedle patch vaccination against influenza was evaluated. The influenza vaccine can offer the best available protection against the flu virus, from which some people (including heart failure patients) can find recovery particularly difficult, and in some cases it can lead to serious complications. [See NHS Choices website]

Lead researcher Prof Mark Prausnitz, who is also part of a company that wants to license the technology, said: “If you zoom in under the microscope what you’ll see are microscopically small needles. They puncture painlessly into the skin.”

His team tested the microneedle patches alongside flu injections. Some of the 100 volunteers got the regular shot in the arm, while others applied the microneedle patch to their wrist for 20 minutes.

It offers the same protection as a regular vaccine, but without pain, according to its developers from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Hear Nadine Rouphael and Mark Prausnitz discussing the findings from their phase 1 trial that uses a dissolvable microneedle patch to deliver an influenza vaccine to patients on The Lancet’s podcast.



Read the full study as published in The Lancet > The safety, immunogenicity, and acceptability of inactivated influenza vaccine delivered by microneedle patch (TIV-MNP 2015): a randomised, partly blinded, placebo-controlled, phase 1 trial

Read more via BBC Health > Painless flu jab patch for people scared of injections