Roger, 76, suffered a heart attack, then a stroke, a few years ago.
Now, he is participating in the
Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT), hoping that an anti-inflammatory drug will reduce his risks of having
future heart problems.
“I have a history of heart problems and lost my mother to a heart
attack,” Roger remarks. “This study could potentially have
an impact on future generations so that they don’t suffer the same
William Kopfler, MD, of
North Oaks Cardiology Clinic is leading local efforts for CIRT, a trial conducted by physicians at
special sites across the U.S. and Canada. He considers Roger the sort
of patient who could reap benefits from the study, and would like to see
more candidates taking part.
“I’m very excited to participate in this study that has the
potential to significantly change how we treat heart disease,” shares
Dr. Kopfler. “This study may be a game changer.”
Those who have suffered prior heart attacks or have had major blockages
in more than one coronary artery are at risk of having future heart attacks
– even if their physicians have them on aggressive treatment plans.
In part, the increased risk is related to high levels of inflammation
in the blood vessels.
Dr. Kopfler explains that the goal of the study is to see if reducing inflammation
can lower the risk of having a future heart attack, stroke or dying from
“Inflammation plays a major role in heart attack and stroke,”
Dr. Kopfler notes. “While inflammation is as important as cholesterol
and high blood pressure, no clinical trial has tested whether reducing
inflammation can reduce rates of these life-threatening disorders.”
CIRT will test whether Low-Dose Methotrexate (LDM) can reduce the rates
of recurrent cardiovascular events among patients with a prior heart attack,
who also have diabetes or metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors
linked to high blood pressure and abdominal obesity.
Because the trial is “randomized,” Roger doesn’t know
if the medication he is taking is an active drug or a placebo. But, he’s
willing to take part because of the potential benefits.
Roger qualified for CIRT due to his health problems and following a screening
process conducted by Dr. Kopfler’s office. During the trial’s
5-year period, he will continue to get all of the usual medical care his
cardiologist and internist provide. Additionally, he will receive special
calendar packs that contain the study medications. He will be closely
monitored by the study team to help ensure his safety and to identify
any clinical events that may occur. At a minimum, Roger will see the study
team for a brief office visit every 4 months for the duration of the trial.
There is no cost to him or other participants.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute fund CIRT. All the participating physicians have been screened, understand
the trial design and have been trained in all trial procedures.
Anyone meeting the qualifications and interested in participating in CIRT
should talk to their primary care provider or contact the national
CIRT Coordinating Center toll-free at (855) 437-9330. Interested parties also may contact Dr. Kopfler through
North Oaks Cardiology Clinic at (985) 230-7350.