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We work with the British Cardiovascular Society Clinical Study Groups and other professional bodies representing cardiovascular disease sub-specialties in the UK to define the research agenda, identify and support new clinical researchers and promote patient involvement in study design, delivery and recruitment.
British Heart Foundation, the UK’s major heart charity and largest independent funder of cardiovascular research, is represented on our specialty group.
Collaboration with other clinical specialties is integral to service delivery and research into cardiovascular disease. We work closely with other specialties, including Diabetes, Injuries and Emergencies, Renal Disorders, Stroke and Primary Care. This provides access to support and expertise which helps to maximise opportunities for recruitment of study participants.
Cardiovascular research is not only undertaken by cardiologists, but also by allied health professionals including paramedics and cardiac research nurses.
Since its inception in 2006, the NIHR has significantly increased the scale of clinical research in the NHS, particularly through the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The enthusiastic engagement of NHS physicians and trainees is essential for sustaining and building on this success, particularly given the many competing demands on clinician time and resources.
For a second year, the NIHR Clinical Research Network has ran research awards in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians. The awards recognise outstanding contributions of NHS consultants and trainees who are active in research.
For further information visit the awards webpage.
The NIHR is working closely with industry to understand the mechanisms that can cause ‘sudden death’. Technology developed in this unique collaboration is providing new insight offering individual management options to high-risk patients.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a genetic heart disease – one of the known conditions to cause ‘sudden death syndrome’ in even the fittest of athletes. As the disease causes a thickening of the heart muscle, structural changes make it harder for the heart to sufficiently pump blood around the body. The mechanisms of the disease are not fully understood, leaving many possible sufferers at risk of arrhythmias and even cardiac arrest. Early diagnosis and accurate prognosis are essential for managing HCM, providing timely, individualised treatment and care plans for a patient.
NIHR researchers are leading in the development and validation of a method for Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DT-MRI) in the human heart. DT-MRI is a method where the diffusion of molecules through biological tissue is mapped using the MRI scanner non-invasively. They are collaborating with Siemens to develop the software to make this possible.
Part of the research is to develop and provide the necessary hardware and software to support the machine when practicing diffusion tensor methods.
If the clinical studies are successful, this technology could be implemented to identify high-risk patients. The development of DT-MRI technology for cardiac assessment will also provide crucial information for further work into the understanding of why such diseases as HCM occur and information regarding the probability of the condition affecting a monitored patient.