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Can inflammation predict adverse cardiovascular events in the population

Associate Professor Frank Sanfilippo, Institution: University of Western Australia

2018 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2019-2020


Inflammation is recognised as an important process in people with heart disease and may lead to a higher risk of heart attack. There are several trials in progress around the world looking at this issue and testing old and new medications that treat inflammation. However, at present there are no tests that can reliably measure this inflammatory response in order to identify who should receive these treatments or for monitoring the treatment. We have developed such a test. By including data on inflammation in addition to well-known risk factors such as cholesterol level and smoking, we aim to increase the ability to predict cardiovascular events in people with no history of cardiovascular disease.

Our plan is to use existing data from 2385 people in the Busselton area in WA in 1994/95 that includes all the common risk factors for heart disease, and add test results of novel biomarkers of inflammation. From this, we will be able to tell if people with higher levels of inflammation are more likely to develop heart disease over the 20 years of follow-up, and assess how this increased risk relates to inflammation and the common risk factors. We can then identify people who may benefit the most from the treatments being trailed, thus improving our ability to monitor and treat heart disease in the population, and ultimately lower the risk of heart attacks and death. Inflammation may also prove beneficial in predicting risk in people who have had a heart attack and we can test this in a subsequent study.

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