Aortic dissection survivor appointed as Head of Research by national patient association

Aortic dissection survivor appointed as Head of Research by national patient association

National patient association Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland is delighted to announce that we recently appointed Dr. Gordon McManus as Head of Research.

Gordon is a patient who survived a Type A Aortic Dissection and emergency surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital in 2017. He has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge and works as a Director of Research in the oil industry, based in London. This combination of lived patient experience of AD and professional research skills make him ideal for the role.

Last year, Gordon was a member of our patient research team which played a leading role in the Department of Health & Social Care’s priority-setting workshop for UK AD research. This resulted in an expert/patient consensus on the national research priorities for Aortic Dissection, which DHSC documented and sent to the relevant funding bodies, to inform their grant-making decisions. We are delighted that, to date, NIHR and EPSRC have both made significant awards to AD research proposals that align with the agreed priorities in this patient-led national research agenda. We expect more to follow.

Gordon McManus
Gordon McManus

Currently, as the national patient association for AD, we are partnered in 16 research projects with 11 different research institutions. Almost 200 of our 700 members have been involved in these research projects in some way. We expect this involvement to grow as the agreed UK AD research priorities turn into more funded projects. As Head of Research, Gordon will oversee this research portfolio, our research partnerships, how we work with researchers and the allocation of our patient resources to existing and new research projects. He will also grow our research team. In this regard, Prof. Rob Sayers, George Davies Chair of Vascular Surgery at the University of Leicester, who joined us as our Medical Advisor (Vascular Surgery) in April, will also join our research team, supporting Gordon and the Association with his clinical and research expertise.

As we grow our research capability as the national patient association for AD, we invite clinicians and researchers to introduce themselves to Gordon and build a relationship with him in his new role. We believe that by partnering in research aligned to the agreed national priorities, we can turn Aortic Dissection from a cardiovascular catastrophe into a preventable disease.

Gordon can be contacted via e-mail at:

This press release can be downloaded as a pdf here

Bristol NHS Trust host national aortic dissection conference

Bristol NHS Trust host national aortic dissection conference

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) and North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) had the honour today, Thursday 16th September, of jointly hosting the 6th annual Aortic Dissection Awareness Day, to be held at the M-Shed in Bristol .

Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition involving a tear in the body’s largest artery, the aorta, which carries blood from the heart to the brain, limbs and vital organs. Once thought to be a rare condition, it is now known that aortic dissection kills more people in the UK each year than road traffic accidents.

The Bristol Aortic Service was awarded the honour of hosting the event by the national patient association Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland, in recognition of the excellent work the city’s two NHS hospital Trusts have done to improve diagnosis and outcomes for aortic dissection patients.

120 patients, relatives and healthcare professionals attended Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK, with hundreds more watching online.

Dr Emma Redfern and Prof Mark Callway from UHBW

Mr. Gareth Owens, Chair of Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland and an aortic dissection survivor himself, said: “Each year, we award the honour of hosting our flagship annual event to a centre that is doing great work in the field of Aortic Dissection.

“The team here in Bristol have transformed their approach to diagnosing and treating Aortic Dissection and it is saving lives. The successful Bristol approach is an example to the NHS nationally. We decided to come to Bristol to highlight that and to promote what has happened here as best practice for other units across the UK”.

Dr. Emma Redfern, consultant in emergency medicine and Interim Medical Director at UHBW, explained:

“With my radiology colleague Prof. Mark Callaway and our teams, we have implemented a new approach which involves better educating staff to help them diagnose aortic dissection, and making it easier to obtain a CT scan of the whole aorta, which these patients need.

“We’re delighted that the effectiveness of our approach has been recognised by Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland and we look forward to welcoming them to Bristol.”