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Who nearly killed Sir Ranulph Fiennes?

Press release issued: 10 September 2007

Next week a leading UK heart expert will speak about the causes of heart attacks and how to stop them at a free public lecture held by Bristol University.

Coronary heart disease is the biggest single cause of death in the UK, causing one in five deaths in men and one in six in women; almost all of the deaths are due to a heart attack. On Tuesday 18 September a leading UK heart expert will speak about the causes of heart attacks and how to stop them at a free public lectureheld by Bristol University.

In a role inspired by Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, Andrew Newby, British Heart Foundation Professor of Vascular Cell Biology at Bristol University’s Bristol Heart Institute, will try to find the cause for the near sudden death at Bristol International Airport of one of Britain’s most intrepid adventurers, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Professor Newby will visit the scene of the crime, the coronary artery, and interrogate each of the likely culprits. He will describe how the latest scientific tools are providing ever-greater ‘forensic’ clues to identify the guilty party. Finally, addressing all the assembled suspects, he will give his verdict and suggest how such crimes may be avoided in future.

Professor Newby and his research team work on:

  • prolonging the life of vein-grafts (the sections of leg veins used in heart bypass operations);
  • mechanisms of atherosclerosis (the process where arteries become "furred up" or blocked due to build up of fatty material;
  • understanding why heart attacks happen, and ways of preventing this.

Professor Newby, commenting on his talk, said: “Although 1.3 million people in the UK have survived a heart attack, they are the lucky ones: a third of all victims die before reaching hospital.

“The talk will focus on the latest research at the Bristol Heart Institute, which aims to prevent and treat heart attacks in the 21st century.”

The public lecture, Who nearly killed Sir Ranulph Fiennes? A private investigation into the causes of heart attacks and how to stop them, will take place at the Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol, on Tuesday, September 18 at 6 pm followed by a drinks reception at 7 pm.  The lecture, sponsored by the British Heart Foundation, is free and no booking is needed.


Further information

Professor Newby came to Bristol in 1994 from Cardiff and has established a research team of international excellence, collaborating closely with cardiac surgeons and cardiologists in Bristol Royal Infirmary.

The Bristol Heart Institute, founded in 1995, consists of over 200 scientists and clinicians throughout the University of Bristol and associated NHS trusts. It aims to improve current understanding and treatment of heart disease by translating basic research into clinical practice.

Please contact Joanne Fryer for further information.
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