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Understanding atrial fibrillation risk and development of a mass screening model

Dr Satish Ramkumar, Institution: Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

2017 Health Professional Scholarship

Years funded: 2018-2020


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common heart rhythm disorder, with increasing prevalence in the elderly. It is a leading cause of stroke and heart failure in the community, costing over $1 billion to our health system annually.

Remodelling of the filling chamber of the heart (left atrium) is associated with the development of AF. AF can cause debilitating symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain and is associated with reduced exercise capacity, reduced quality of life and recurrent hospital admissions.

There has been recent research suggesting a close relationship with metabolic syndrome and associated conditions such as obstructive sleep apnoea and diabetes.

Currently we do not have a cost-effective screening model and most patients are diagnosed following the onset of symptoms or complications.

This research will aim to understand the risk factors associated with AF and the structural abnormalities in the filling chamber (left atrium) which contributes to the development of AF.

By understanding and modelling AF risk, we aim to develop a cost-effective screening model which will allow early diagnosis. This will allow early lifestyle and medical treatment which can prevent complications, reduce health care costs, and improve quality of life.

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