Scots doctor wins top US heart study award

A Scottish medical researcher has won a prestigious award at the American Heart Association's international conference.

Dr Andrew Chapman and Caroline Scally show off their awards.
Dr Andrew Chapman and Caroline Scally show off their awards.

Dr Andrew Chapman picked up the Young Investigator Award for his groundbreaking work as part of a team from the University of Edinburgh who improved the system used to diagnose whether a patient has suffered a heart attack.

The 29-year-old was in Los Angeles last week along with Caroline Scally from Aberdeen University, who also made the final international shortlist of five for her work on tako-tsubo or “broken heart syndrome”.

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Dr Chapman studied new ways to measure troponin, a protein that is an integral part of the heart and is used as an indicator of whether someone has had a cardiac arrest.

His team, led by Dr Nick Mills together with British Heart Foundation (BHF) Prof David Newby, developed a test using fluorescent resolution that shines brightly and allows them to detect quickly if someone has suffered cardiac arrest.

He explained how this would work for patients who present at hospital with chest pains : “The real benefit for patients here is that by using this test in this new way we can tell extremely quickly if someone is or is not having a heart attack.

“If someone is not having a heart attack and the doctor knows that sooner it means they are able to actually look for the patient’s real cause of their symptoms and they don’t need to come into hospital for 12 hours to wait to be told that they’re not having a heart attack, we can tell them straight away.”

The former Stewart’s Melville College pupil from Edinburgh, paid tribute to his parents for supporting him through his studies and his mentor cardiologist Dr Anoop Shah, saying the award was a team effort.

He added: “The conference is one of the main three cardiology conferences [in the world] that happen throughout the year. The award is in memory of a chap called Samuel A. Levine who was one of the most prominent cardiologists in the world. He was one of the first people to recognise that pain in the chest was coming from the heart.

“My supervisors nominated me for the award on the basis of work that we’ve done for this worldwide project.

“It was great to win it, I got a plaque and $2,500, which was nice, and obviously it’s a great honour in any way being associated with Levine.”

James Cant, director of BHF Scotland, said: “We’d like to congratulate Andrew on winning this award, and Caroline for being short-listed.”