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The Effect of Ageing on Cardiovascular Disease Prediction

Dr Sonali Gnanenthiran, Institution: ANZAC Research Institute

2017 Health Professional Scholarship

Years funded: 2018-2020


Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death and disability in those aged ≥70 years, who are at increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and death.

Elderly patients are underrepresented in clinical trials and experience significant disparities in treatment. The lack of study in this area has led to poor prediction of risk and controversy regarding the appropriateness of current cardiovascular therapies in the elderly, resulting in underutilisation of such therapies.

Cardiovascular disease generally occurs due to an interaction between cardiovascular risk factors (e.g. diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure), platelets and fat deposition in the blood vessels of the heart. Platelets are small cells that cause the blood to clot, and can lead to heart attack and stroke. Whether cardiovascular risk factors in the presence of frailty and the extent of blockages in the heart blood vessels on CT correlate to the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and death in older people is not known. Similarly, it is currently unknown how the responses of platelets change with increasing age.

This project aims to improve cardiovascular disease risk prediction in the elderly, with an emphasis on the effect of frailty and the extent of heart vessel blockage; and to examine how increasing age affects the response of their platelets.

This project is co-funded with NHMRC - National Health and Medical Research Council.

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