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Improving prevention of cardiovascular disease

Associate Professor Duncan Campbell, Institution: St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research

2019 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2020-2021


This proposal will investigate strategies to improve the identification of people at risk of heart and kidney disease. Current protocols do not serve at risk populations well, being based on the Framingham model now some decades old. Early identification will enable improved targeting of treatments to prevent heart and kidney disease and their progression. To do this we will interrogate two unique resources: from people who died suddenly, obtained from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM).

This proposal has four key aims:

1. Biomarker prediction of heart failure.
We will examine whether the serum biomarker high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I improves prediction of heart failure beyond that provided by other biomarkers and clinical risk factors.

2. Predictive tool development.
We will develop improved prediction tools that predict heart attack, stroke and heart failure, based on biomarkers (incl. lipids) and clinical risk factors.

3. Identification of rapidly deteriorating kidney function.
Based on changes in the level of the chemical creatinine in serum of SCREEN-HF participants, we will develop an improved protocol to identify people with rapidly deteriorating kidney function.

4. Improved understanding of why people die suddenly from heart attack.
Building on our recent finding that people with a recent heart attack have a reduced number of small blood vessels in their heart muscle, we will examine the hearts of people that died suddenly from heart attack using a cohort of heart muscle samples obtained from VIFM.

Together, these aims will deliver improved identification of Australians at risk, who can be offered preventive therapy, and improved understanding of the mechanisms of sudden death from heart attack.

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