Struthers, Allan


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1982 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Allan Struthers graduated MB (Hons) from Glasgow University UK in 1977. After junior hospital posts in Glasgow, he was Senior Registrar at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and Hammersmith Hospital in London in 1982 – 1985.

He was then appointed Wellcome Senior Lecturer/Consultant Physician in Dundee and is currently Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and runs the Heart Failure service at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. He is also an Honorary Professor at St Andrews University Medical School. He was Chairman of the SIGN Guidelines in Heart Failure twice (2007 and 2016) and Chairman of NHS-QIS Standards (2010) for Heart Failure. In addition, he is also Chairman of Tenovus NSAC, Senior Regional Advisor for SACDA and a Council member of Chest, Heart and Stroke (Scotland).

He is currently Co-Head of the Division of Molecular and Clinical Medicine at the University of Dundee. Professor Struthers runs a large clinical research programme and has supervised 50 MD/PhDs.

He helped pioneer the use of plasma BNP to identify heart failure patients and the use of aldosterone blockers to reduce their mortality. 

Another research interest is in allopurinol and he has recently shown it to have antianginal oxygen sparing effects and to regress LV hypertrophy. He is currently funded (as PI) by the BHF, MRC, CSO, Diabetes (UK) and Chest, Heart & Stroke.  

In total he has held 38 different British Heart Foundation (BHF) grants. He has published 508 papers which are cited around 600 times every year. His research “h” factor is high at 60. He is a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology (FESC), the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) and the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMed Sci). 

He teaches Cardiovascular Medicine and Therapeutics at both the University of Dundee and the University of St Andrews Medical School.

He has given 207 invited lectures, half abroad.



Professor Struthers has repeatedly spotted new therapeutic opportunities and conducted the initial “proof of concept” studies which, led to confirmation in larger trials. For example, he was the first to ever show that aldosterone blockade had beneficial cardiac effects in man on top of ACE inhibitors (Am J Card 1995, 76: 1259): those effects were to reduce both ventricular arrhythmias and cardiac sympathetic activity. The discovery helped lead to the RALES trial where spironolactone reduced mortality in heart failure (HF) by 30%. He also discovered other mechanisms contributing to aldosterone’s ability to increase cardiac deaths, i.e. it decreases endothelial nitric oxide, it decreases cardiac autonomic function and it increases plasma collagen markers (which are a good surrogate for myocardial fibrosis).

A second area where he made important original discoveries is B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP). He wrote one of the two original studies published together in the Lancet (1993) which led to the use of plasma BNP levels to identify heart failure (HF). A later paper by him, also in the Lancet, confirmed this. BNP is now an integral part of all HF guidelines. Professor Struthers has now moved on to make original observations about BNP in a completely new (non HF) area. He has recently discovered that if an apparently healthy individual has a high BNP level, this often signifies that they have silent coronary artery disease (Heart 2006, 92: 487 and 916). This is a major finding as BNP screening could now be used to help identify those many apparently healthy middle aged individuals whose first ever manifestation of their previously silent coronary disease is sudden cardiac death.

A whole other area pioneered by him is allopurinol. He developed the novel idea that allopurinol could be “oxygen in a pill” because it inhibits an oxidase enzyme which normally “wastes” oxygen in ischaemic tissue. A recent Lancet paper (2010, 375: 2161 – 7) showing this could lead eventually to the use of allopurinol as an oxygen sparing agent in all ischaemic diseases. He had already unravelled the exact mechanism whereby allopurinol improves endothelial function by profoundly reducing vascular oxidative stress and not at all by decreasing uric acid. This was a much debated issue before his elegant paper in Circulation settled the issue.

Lastly, he had the original idea behind another paper of major therapeutic importance. In conjunction with Professor McMurdo, he showed that ACE inhibitors improve mobility in elderly, disabled, immobile patients, which should greatly improve the quality of life of many elderly patients. In fact, this paper won the Bruce P Squires award as one of the best in the year. If confirmed, ACE inhibitors could become the equivalent of “exercise in a pill” to the many elderly with limited mobility.


He teaches Cardiovascular Medicine and Therapeutics at both the University of Dundee and the University of St Andrews Medical School.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 1977

Bachelor of Science, Steroid synthesis in corpora lutea, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 1973


  • RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
  • Cardiovascular


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