Looking back to the future

IN THE early 1990s Australian researcher Professor Henry Krum found himself at the right place at the right time. 

Working with colleagues in New York, he was intimately involved in pioneering the use of beta blockers for the management of systolic heart failure, work that turned convention on its head and transformed the way doctors treated the condition.

“In the 1980s, if you asked a GP or a specialist ‘Should you give a beta blocker to patient with systolic heart failure?’ they would tell you ‘Absolutely not – it will kill them’,” he recalls.

“Now they would say that you’d have to come up with a very good reason why you should not give a beta blocker.”

Two decades on, Professor Krum, now the director of the Monash Centre of Cardiovascular Research and Education in Therapeutics, has been part of an Australian team that has achieved positive results using what he calls a