Ensuring people are on the right medicines after a heart attack


Research is needed to improve the number of patients receiving the right medications after a heart attack.


Coronary artery disease continues to be a leading cause of death in the United Kingdom. Following an acute coronary syndrome (ACS), also known as a heart attack, the annual risk of the patient experiencing another ACS or dying is approximately 6-9%, despite many new treatments becoming available in recent years. Studies suggest that people are often not given potentially lifesaving treatments after a heart attack.  This needs to be understood in more detail, to provide people with the best possible care.


The long-term aim of this project is to improve our use of medications after a patient has a heart attack. There are several new medications that reduce the risk of a patient having another heart attack or dying. Small studies suggest that very few patients received the new medications that we are investigating.

This study will first describe the number of patients who receive or don’t receive medications after a heart attack that might benefit them. Then, the researchers will build a tool that checks which medications people are taking, and suggests others that might be helpful, based on a person’s age, other medical conditions and known allergies.  The data from PIONEER will explore the reasons why some medications are not used optimally. We will also investigate whether the medications are associated with lower risk of important outcomes such as risk of having another heart attack or death.


The researchers have worked with patients who have had heart attacks. There is a public and patient group who have helped to shape the research question, the data used, and this group will also help share the results.


This project was supported unanimously by the PIONEER Data Trust Committee.

The study is being run by Dr Mark Thomas, The University of Birmingham.

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