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New studies will explore how COVID-19 damages the heart
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New studies will explore how COVID-19 damages the heart

Media Release - 16 July 2020

The Heart Foundation has allocated $200,000 for much-needed research into COVID-19 and its impact on cardiovascular health.

The organisation has created two new $100,000 grants as part of its strategic funding focusing on emerging areas of need.

The Heart Foundation’s General Manager Heart Heath and Research, Bill Stavreski, said evidence suggests that people with heart disease were more likely to develop serious complications from COVID-19.

“They appear to have a higher chance of becoming severely ill, needing intensive care or dying if infected by COVID-19,” Mr Stavreski said.

“We urgently need more evidence about the link between the virus and cardiovascular health, why complications occur and the best way to treat patients, so they have a better chance of surviving and recovering.

“COVID-19 infection may worsen existing heart conditions such as heart failure and increase the risk of a heart attack. Early data suggests cardiac arrhythmias (rhythm changes) or heart muscle damage are possible complications, and that COVID-19 may cause heart complications in people who previously had no history of heart disease.

“Emerging data also suggests that people with chronic diseases may be avoiding their regular medical visits or investigations in an effort to avoid contracting COVID-19. We need to better understand the impacts of this disruption in routine healthcare delivery and how to best support people with living heart disease.”

The grants will enable Australian researchers to contribute to global efforts to control and reduce the effects of the virus. The Heart Foundation will consider applications that address significant knowledge gaps, including:

  • Understanding which cardiac conditions are at higher risk of COVID-19 complications
  • Cardiovascular damage in people with no known cardiac disease
  • COVID-19 interaction with cardiac medications
  • Models of care for cardiac patients, including digital outpatient clinics and cardiac rehabilitation

The grants have been partly funded with support from Sanofi Australia and Pfizer Australia.

Applications will be open between 20 July - 28 August. More information about the grant and details on how to apply.

Media enquiries

Suzanne McKenzie, Senior Media Adviser
M: 0434 691 461 E: Suzanne.mckenzie@heartfoundation.org.au

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