A Will for Life: Right at the Heart of Cardiac Research; WITH THE HELP OF THE NATIONAL HEART RESEARCH FUND UNIQUE DEVELOPMENTS AT WALSGRAVE HOSPITAL COULD MAKE BYPASS OPERATIONS SAFER FOR THOUSANDS OF FUTURE PATIENTS

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Byline: Alison Duck

TODAY the Evening Telegraph launches a campaign to raise vital funds for the National Heart Research Fund. Readers are being given the chance to make a will for free in the hope that they will leave a legacy to the charity.

In the first part of our campaign series, feature writer ALISON DUCK reports on how the charity is funding world-leading research at Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital which could save lives.

HEART disease is the biggest killer in Britain - and Coventry and Warwickshire is no exception.

The nation has one of the highest death rates from coronary heart disease in the western world.

And Coventry has one of the worst death rates in the country due to its high levels of social deprivation and large ethnic population.

Around 1,200 heart bypass operations are carried out every year at Walsgrave Hospital, transforming the lives of many patients.

Although the number of people dying from the surgery has fallen to around two per cent over the past 20 years, the nation has one of the highest death rates in the western world.

Coventry is now involved in the world's attempts to make the operation safer and to ultimately save lives.

Pioneering research is being carried out at Walsgrave Hospital thanks to pounds 100,000 from the National Heart Research Fund.

The research is investigating the inflammatory response during heart surgery and ways in which harmful effects that this may have upon the heart and blood vessels could be reduced.

These inflammatory effects of heart surgery affect the risks and side effects associated with the operation, including the patient's recovery and length of hospital stay.

Dr Jasper Trevelyan, research registrar in cardiology, has also been trialing two drugs, losartan and enalapril.

The drugs are commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, but have never before been applied in the treatment of patients having a heart bypass.

"Our research is unique," said Dr Trevelyan. "No-one else in the world is looking at it. …