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Waitematā DHB Doctor Granted $1 Million For Research

Waitematā DHB renal doctor Janak de Zoysa has received just over $1 million from the Health Research Council to participate in an international study to improve health outcomes for dialysis patients.

The international study, ACHIEVE, is a large, randomised, multi-national trial that will determine whether spironolactone safely reduces cardiovascular mortality and hospitalisations in dialysis patients.

Globally, three million patients receive dialysis for end-stage kidney disease with over 2,700 in New Zealand – a number that is steadily growing. The average survival rate for dialysis patients is only three years, with the most common cause of death from cardiovascular disease.

Spironolactone prevents cardiac disease and sudden death in patients who do not require dialysis. Small trials suggest that spironolactone may also reduce cardiovascular mortality in dialysis patients. The large multi-national trial will test the theory further.

Waitematā DHB is the lead New Zealand site for ACHIEVE and six other New Zealand renal units are also recruiting participants.

A New Zealand–led sub-study of cardiac biomarkers is also funded and will recruit patients globally who are participating in ACHIEVE. The University of Otago (Christchurch) is providing expert input into the sub-study and will be undertaking biomarker analysis.


Waitematā DHB Chief Executive Dr Dale Bramley says the research funding reflects the high calibe of clinicians working within the DHB.

“To be granted funding from the Health Research Council, the research proposal must be of a very high standard,” says Dr Bramley. “Congratulations to Dr de Zoysa for this outstanding achievement and we look forward to extending our research capacity in the future.”

Dr de Zoysa’s study is one of 47 to be awarded a total of $71.58 million in the Health Research Council’s latest funding results announced on 30 June.

Waitematā DHB serves the largest population of any district health board in New Zealand, currently standing at more than 630,000 people. The workforce consists of more than 7,500 staff across more than 80 sites, including Waitakere Hospital.

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