A PIONEERING Hartlepool company has been selected to lead the way on research which could save thousands of lives.
Hart Biologicals, based on the Queens Meadow Business Park, will work on a process which reduces the risk of complications after surgery to orthopaedic patients. Around 25,000 people a year die from a condition called venous thromboembolism (VTE).
In VTE, blood clots can form within the vein, which is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Sometimes they break off and cause serious complications including pulmonary embolism, which is the cause of death in one in 10 patients who die in hospital, many following surgery.
Research shows the number of deaths due to the condition is more than the combined total of deaths from breast cancer, AIDS and traffic accidents.
Healthcare experts in the North-East are working to reduce the risk to patients thanks to a grant of £120,000 awarded to a joint study led by Hartlepool-based Hart Biologicals and clinicians at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
The grant, awarded by the Academic Health Science Network for North-East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), will be used to support developmental work on products which help reduce the risk of blood clots following orthopaedic surgery.
The study is being delivered by Hart Biologicals managing director Alby Pattison and Professor Amar Rangan, a consultant in orthopaedics at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The aim is to develop a testing method, using a relatively new technique called rotating thrombo-elastometry (ROTEM) which can hopefully be used as a predictor of an increased tendency of a person’s blood to clot.
If it can, then VTE in patients can be assessed on whether they are at risk.
Mr Pattison said the study would “test blood samples from patients undergoing elective hip and knee replacements and from patients undergoing hip fracture surgery at various time points pre and post-surgery on ROTEM.”
The aim would be to see if there are any significant changes in the blood coagulation and platelet function.
He said a greater understanding of blood clotting in patients could lead to “further reduction of death and long term effects from VTE”.
Although blood clots can happen to anyone, a person is more at risk of developing them when unwell and when their mobility is restricted. It’s estimated that DVT occurs in more than four in 10 patients undergoing major orthopaedic surgery.
Mr Pattison said Hart Biologicals would “provide further matched funding worth £56,032 for ROTEM instrumentation and scientific support.”