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Currently residing at the Duke
University Medical Centre, North
Carolina, US, where he is Associate
Director of the Duke Heart Center,
the Kent and Siri Rawson Director for
the Program for Advanced Coronary
Disease, and most recently, appointed
Vice-Chair of Development and
Innovation in the Department of
Medicine, Professor Ohman says his
career focus before coming to RCSI in
1975, was on international collaborative
clinical research.
"Coming to RCSI from Sweden was an
eye-opener for me. I was exposed to
students who came from a diverse range
of backgrounds across 24 countries and
four continents. It was a brilliant way to
connect with di erent cultures, interact
on an international scale and it made it
easier for me to understand medicine in
di erent parts of the world, as everyone
brought a little bit of home to the
College, over six years," he says.
"RCSI really enforced the idea of `always
listen to the patient'. is stuck with me
for my whole life."
A er completing his medical school
training at RCSI in 1981, Professor
Ohman stayed on lecturing in the
College in clinical medicine for three
more years. His main focus at the time
was physiology, an interest inspired
by Professor Cliona Buckley, who
taught this subject at the College. "I
loved this subject and it was a real
treat to be taught by her. It piqued my
interest in specialising in ear, nose
and throat (ENT) and the physiology
aspect of medicine. But, this all
changed when I had my rst rotation
on my internship with Professor John
Horgan at Beaumont Hospital, where
he specialised in the treatment of
heart attacks." A er this internship
with Professor Horgan, Professor
Ohman knew he was destined to be
a cardiologist. While working as a
Cardiology Registrar, he also trained in
clinical pharmacology with Professor
Kevin O'Malley. Professor Horgan
introduced him to ongoing research
into a new treatment for heart attacks
a clot buster treatment drug called
streptokinase, which physiologically
restored blood ow to the heart.
Professor Ohman worked with
Professor Horgan and the Infarct
Survival Group, which was led by Drs
Peter Sleight, Richard Peto and Rory
Collins at Oxford, on a speci c clinial
trial the Second International Study
of Infarct Survival (ISIS-2) trial, which
was very forward-looking at the time.
Until then, there had not been any
collaborative research in Ireland on this
particular cardiological focus. Professor
Horgan pushed Professor Ohman to
try and implement this trial in Irish
hospitals. Twenty-two hospitals took
part and Ireland enrolled more patients
per capita than any other country who
participated in the trial. At the time,
there were three million people in
Ireland and 240 patients were enrolled
which was considered a phenomenal
amount of participants. One of the
treatments during this time was the
use of aspirin as a treatment for heart
attacks. e results of this ISIS-2 trial
Professor Ohman says he has been
very lucky to be at the forefront of
research that has changed how we
manage heart-attack patients.
"Collaborative research in clinical
trials, has become the solution to
defi ne better therapies for heart
attack patients. My days at RCSI
helped me to better understand
physicians from around the world,
to better connect with them around
clinical research.
In clinical research we take two
giant leaps forward and then one
step back. Nothing is easy, but it is
very rewarding that one's research
can ultimately save lives around the
Recognised as one of "The World's Most Infl uential
Scientifi c Minds" in the Thomson Reuters listing of the top
1% of most highly cited researchers, announced in January
2016, PROFESSOR MAGNUS OHMAN (Class of 1981), has
transformed clinical cardiological research on a global scale
Since statistician Richard Peto
announced in the 1980s, how the
ISIS-2 trial (see main article) could
reduce heart attacks by 25%,
Professor Ohman has continued
his ground-breaking research. In
the late 1990s and early 2000s,
Professor Ohman introduced the
Crusade Registry in the US, looking
at how doctors in 400 hospitals
adopted the recommended
therapies into practice. Some
physicians were prescribing aspirin
to 95% of patients and some to
The Quality Improvement Initiative
was set up and implemented
in these hospitals to ensure
consistency throughout. It was
such a huge success that the
American College of Cardiology
(ACC) developed the programme
and it is now called the National
Cardiovascular Data Registry
(NCDR) and today is independently
run by the ACC.
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