Stents and statistics: the changing world of medicine

One of the UK’s leading cardiologists spoke to QE’s younger boys about the dramatic changes he has seen during his career – both in the treatment of heart diseases and in the recruitment of doctors.

Professor Adam Timmis, Professor of Cardiology at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and the London NHS Trust, spoke to Years 7–10 in assembly. It was the latest talk for younger boys in the new series of lectures introduced this school year as part of the QE academic enrichment programme.

""Professor Timmis, who graduated from Cambridge and trained in cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US and Guy’s Hospital in London, told boys that entry to medical school is difficult – tens of thousands apply, but only 9% succeed. When he entered the profession in the 1970s, it was very white and male, he said. Now, about 70% of those at medical school are white, 25% are of Asian origin and 3% are black, while some 55% are female.

The Professor explained what heart attacks are and what causes them – factors such as high cholesterol levels. Medical advances have dramatically improved survival rates, he told the boys. As recently as about 20 years ago, if you were having a heart attack, you were probably going to die: now, only 5% die from any given heart attack episode.

""Professor Timmis, who is Deputy Director of the National Institute for Health Research’s Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, explained how he uses the latest technology to overcome heart disease by inserting tiny tubes – stents – into clogged arteries to improve the blood supply to heart muscles.