Magherafelt man’s hopes to improve heart patients’ lives

Gavin Murphy, from Magherafelt, has been appointed a Professor within the British Heart Foundation
Gavin Murphy, from Magherafelt, has been appointed a Professor within the British Heart Foundation

A FORMER Magherafelt man has been appointed a Professor of Cardiac Surgery within the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Leading heart surgeon Gavin Murphy, who is a past pupil of St Mary’s Grammar in Magherafelt, now works with the University of Leicester and will embark on a mission to find ways to reduce the risk of organ failure after heart surgery.

Professor Murphy has received a grant of £1.3 million from the BHF for his research and has moved from Bristol to the University of Leicester.

Upon receiving this funding award, BHF Professor Gavin Murphy said: “It’s a tremendous honour to become a BHF Professor and a fantastic opportunity to make further developments in my research.

“It gives me the support I need to do high quality work, and be more ambitious in the type of projects I get involved in.

“I want to change the way people are treated for the better. My new role as a BHF Professor is to do research that improves the lives of patients who have to undergo heart surgery.”

Coronary heart disease (CHD) affects nearly 2.7 million people in the UK – over 75,000 people in Northern Ireland alone. Some of these people require surgery to save their lives or relieve their symptoms and it is vital that these operations have the best possible outcomes.

Professor Murphy will now have the opportunity to link up with Leicester’s BHF Professor of Cardiology Nilesh Samani. The University of Leicester has received over £10 million in research funding from the BHF over the past five years.

BHF Medical Director, Professor Peter Weissberg, said: “Because of the great advances that have taken place in surgical techniques since the BHF was founded in 1961, more and more patients are benefiting from heart surgery. But the job is not done and Professor Murphy’s research is focused on gaining the very best outcomes for patients undergoing major heart surgery.

“As the population ages and more and more elderly people undergo heart operations it is essential we understand how to minimise post-operative complications so that more patients can undergo this life transforming treatment successfully.”

Professor Nilesh Samani, BHF Professor of Cardiology and Head of Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Murphy to Leicester. His work fits in very well with our strategy to translate research discoveries in the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.

“He will benefit from the recent major investment we have had in Leicester from the BHF, the NIHR, the University and others in developing our facilities for research into heart diseases.”

For more information about BHF-funded research in Northern Ireland visit