BHF Cardiovascular Research Centre to host Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK 2019

National patient association Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland has announced that the fourth annual Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK, on 19th September 2019, will be hosted by the British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Leicester. This full-day event will see over 100 patients and family members affected by Aortic Dissection join with leading national and international experts in the field of Aortic disease to share their experiences and discuss how to improve care for patients with Aortic Dissection in the UK.

Making the announcement today, 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 University of Leicester has published ground-breaking research that is leading to significant improvement in care for patients across the UK. We also get great feedback from patients about the care they receive at Glenfield Hospital, where the Research Centre is located. With this award, we want to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the University of Leicester team and build a closer working relationship with them to develop further research in the field of Aortic Dissection.”

Prof. Gavin Murphy, Gareth Owens, Catherine Fowler & Anne Cotton with the event organising committee in Leicester

Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK takes place on 19th September – a date established as global Aortic Dissection Awareness Day by the worldwide movement that is increasing awareness of this life-threatening disease. Over 20 countries are expected to host an Aortic Dissection Awareness event this year. With 180 delegates, the UK event in Leicester is expected to be by far the largest. In previous years, Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK has been hosted by Barts Health NHS Trust (the largest cardiac surgery centre in Europe), Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital; and the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. For 2019, the University of Leicester intends to make the event even bigger and better than before. Professor Gavin Murphy, British Heart Foundation Chair of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Leicester, explains: “As a research centre, patient engagement is absolutely crucial to what we do. Aortic Dissection is a complex, multi-faceted disease and we need patients to work with us to develop and conduct the research projects that will make the biggest difference to them. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland. We are going to use this event to host a unique collaboration with patients and tackle a real research challenge in the field of Aortic Dissection.”

Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK 2019 is an invitation-only event and is likely to be oversubscribed.

New Aortic Dissection educational film

Statistics show that a diagnosis of Aortic Dissection is considered in only half of the patients who present with this fatal condition. One-third of patients with an Aortic Dissection are actively treated in Emergency Medicine for an incorrect diagnosis such as a heart attack or gastritis.

Aortic Dissection is not a difficult condition to diagnose when you have a heightened suspicion and are aware enough to THINK AORTA in the first instance. Experience shows that if Emergency Departments educate staff about Aortic Dissection and lower the barriers to CT scanning, lives will be saved.

Omar Nawaytou of Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital was inspired by the THINK AORTA campaign and came up with the concept of an Aortic Dissection educational film that could be embedded into every induction within Emergency Departments across the UK.

Taking the idea into action, Catherine Fowler of Aortic Dissection Awareness (UK & Ireland) took on the initiative to create and lead a collaboration between SCTS, Royal College of Emergency Medicine & Royal Collage of Radiology to develop a learning experience for Emergency Medicine providing valuable perspectives across the patient pathway. Pamela Struthers (patient of Deborah Harrington LHCH) shares her personal story, where she survived an acute aortic dissection following a delayed diagnosis.

Pictured left to right; Chris Walsh Head of RCEM eLearning, Pamela Struthers Survivor of Aortic Dissection, Catherine Fowler Vice Chair Aortic Dissection Awareness, Emma Redfurn Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Associate Medical Director for Patient Safety BUH,
 Miss Deborah Harrington Consultant Cardiac and Aortic Surgeon LHCH, Professor Mark Callaway Medical Director, Royal College of Radiology

The learning material will be released on the RCEM eLeaning platform in May 2019. As it is an open access platform, materials are available for you to access, share and encourage your colleagues in radiology and emergency medicine to adopt and embed.

Together we can make a difference to inspire and accelerate the needed change to save lives.


Aortic Dissection Awareness UKI is delighted to have been accepted as a “Stakeholder” within the NICE review process, on 23 April 2019. 

NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, is the body which produces Clinical Guidelines and Advice for use in the UK NHS.  Clinical Guidelines are a consolidated summary of best practice, backed up by the latest evidence, and they are used by GPs and other Doctors across the UK to help them follow the considered best diagnoses and treatments for patients.

NICE’s guidelines are issued or updated after a review process which includes input from bodies with a special interest in a topic.  Our ability to comment to NICE on matters affecting those with Aortic Disease is crucial to our drive to improve management of aortic disease.

We commented in 2018 on the updated guidelines for AAA – Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms – and a publication date is awaited, but we have now commented on the update on Blood Pressure Management, due for release this August.  We know good B.P. control is a crucial aspect of aortic disease management, and have particularly made the point that sufferers from aortic disease need much tighter and immediate B.P. control than with practices based primarily on a general approach to the prevention of stroke, heart attack and heart failure.  Aortic disease can strike much more suddenly and more catastrophically.

Our Stakeholder status also ensures we are advised in advance on new and updated Guidelines in preparation by NICE, and we look forward over the next couple of years to being able to put the AD perspective into upcoming guidelines including care through the admission/operation/recovery cycle, cardiovascular disease, atrial fibrillation management, long-term sickness absence and capability to work, shared decision making, and assessment and diagnosis of recent-onset chest pain.

We look forward to being able to put the AD case forward for you, the patient.