THE MONEY RAISED BY THE NICOLA EMMERSON TRUST WILL BE USED TO
‘IDENTIFY AND TREAT YOUNG PEOPLE AT RISK OF A SUDDEN CARDIAC DEATH
Although both my husband and I work full time. We are both devoted with help from our daughter Charlotte to raising awareness and raising funds for Dr Grace's team of researchers to find the causes and hopefully the prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death in young people.
Throughout the year we organise Golf days, Tribute Nights, Football Matches, Pamper & Shopping and Psychic evenings. We also try to attend as many other charity events and fetes to raise awareness and collect donations.
The Trust welcomes anyone who would like to organise an event on our behalf. Please contact Julie on Mob 07533554195 Home 01763 243678 or email
We very much appreciate the continued support from our friends and work colleagues. Also we would like to thank the following people/companies for their support in the past and hopefully the future.
The Nicola Emmerson Trust – helping to improve the understanding of the causes of sudden death
Improved treatment of coronary disease has decreased mortality from heart attacks with positive effects on human health. However in the wake of these impressive impacts we are seeing more patients presenting with heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias) with one manifestation being the recognition of more cases of sudden cardiac death including unexplained deaths striking down young healthy people. Our research focuses on the cardiac rhythms that are responsible for sudden death in all its manifestations and has several strands, one of which is helped by The Nicola Emmerson Trust.
The laboratory-based research programme, conducted in the University of Cambridge, concentrates on the basic causes of arrhythmias. To address this problem we build model systems carrying the human gene mutations that are often the cause of sudden death. The research group comprises 9-12 individuals and we publish large numbers of scientific papers that help us to understand what causes sudden death. The work is allowing us both to predict which patients are at risk and to develop better treatments. Without work of this sort we will be unable to get to the cause of this problem that causes distress to so many.
The clinical part of the programme based at Papworth Hospital is based on the work in the University and makes measurements directly from patients’ hearts to indicate who is at risk so that the best treatment can be applied. Over the next 12 months this work will move forward by making our technology and measurements exportable to other centres so that more people will benefit. The Nicola Emmerson Trust will support the work that makes this transition possible.
The third strand is the provision of better treatments and so we are the leading centre developing the entirely subcutaneous ICD (SICD) (difribulator). The SICD is now available throughout the UK and in many at risk patients has advantages over current treatments. The development work on the SICD continues at Papworth including a clinical trial that will lead to regulatory approval internationally.
Our work has therefore already resulted in improved treatments for patients. Many lives have been saved but we are just beginning with much more needing to be done.
Andrew Grace, Papworth Hospital and the University of Cambridge
Latest news on Papworth & Dr Grace
New zapper keeps your ticker in working order
Thousands of Britons at risk of sudden cardiac death could benefit from a new defibrillator implanted under the skin in the chest. The system delivers a bigger kick-start to the heart than conventional devices. It is also less likely to trigger false alarms - where the patient is given an unnecessary shock.
And because the leads from the device don't go directly into the heart, there is a reduced risk of infection, say specialists. Findings from three clinical trials show the new device, the Subcutaneous Implantable Defibrillator (S-ICD), detected and treated successfully all episodes of severe rhythm disturbance over ten months.
Dr Andrew Grace, consultant cardiologist at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, who helped develop and test the new device, said it was a major advance. 'This could completely change the use of implantable defibrillators,' he says.
Implantable defibrillators provide round-the-clock protection for hundreds of thousands of patients with heart problems, with at least 30,000 implanted in Britain, though many more go untreated. Around 70,000 Britons die every year from sudden cardiac death caused by arrhythmia, a disturbance or irregularity of the heartbeat. Conventional implanted defibrillators require at least one lead placed directly to the heart - usually threaded through a vein. This senses dangerous changes in heart rhythm and delivers a lifesaving shock. The research was carried out by Dr Andrew Grace at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge
But the leads on these devices are 'highly likely' to cause infections in patients who then need treatment or even further surgery to remove them, says Dr Grace. 'This deters some patients from having them implanted, and may mean doctors are less willing to recommend them,' he says.
The new battery-operated system has one wire going across the chest under the skin - this wire is connected to the device implanted beneath the skin, which delivers the shock. The added distance from the heart means a more powerful shock can be delivered than from conventional devices - about 2.5 times stronger. It also means the device is less likely to pick up electrical 'noise' from the heart, which can trigger unnecessary shocks that can be 'traumatising for patients', says Dr Grace.
The clinical trial data shows the S-ICD is just as effective as the conventional devices at delivering electrical impulses to restore normal rhythm in almost all episodes of induced disturbances.
There were two minor infections over the ten-month trial.
Made by Cameron Health in the U.S., the device costs about £13,000 - similar to existing devices - and lasts five years before it needs to be replaced.
Dr Grace has started using S-ICD for patients at high risk, including young people with a family history of sudden cardiac death.
Research suggests-that implanted defribrillators are 98 per cent effective at preventing sudden death, with drug treatment being far less beneficial.
Dr Grace says NHS guidelines recommend their use in around 6,000 patients a year, yet only 4,000 are getting them.
'The number who could benefit is much higher,' he says.
'If there is a low-risk device available then it's likely we'll eventually be treating more patients who are at risk of sudden cardiac death but don't fit the criteria for an implantable defibrillator.'
The improved treatment of coronary disease has seen fabulous results and a decrease in the number of deaths resulting from heart attacks. However in the wake of these impressive impacts we are seeing increased numbers of people presenting disturbances of the cardiac rhythm, and sudden cardiac death. Papworth’s work is focused on this modern epidemic.
Their research characterizes the properties of the heart that provide the basis for arrhythmias (conditions in which there is abnormal electrical activity in the heart. The heart beat may be too fast or too slow, and may be regular or irregular.) Recent studies show that the numbers showing a clinical risk of a sudden cardiac death reside within the heart and much of this risk is generic. If they can read the code in the heart they can predict risk and protect those people who are at risk.
Papworth are therefore able to provide the means to identify patients at risk of sudden cardiac death. In a recent paper it described the results of a multinational study in which conclusively show that in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young people) are able to predict accurately and for the first time the risk of sudden cardiac death.