Find a Cardiovascular Study in your area

To find out more about current cardiovascular disease studies you can view a list of studies on the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio Database 

Working with the Life Sciences

The NIHR Clinical Research Network Cardiovascular Disease has been enormously successful in integrating clinical research into NHS clinical service provision, and both developing and delivering a large practice changing portfolio of clinical trials.

Read our Cardiovascular Specialty Profile to find out more.

Our Studies



As the most integrated clinical research system in the world, the NIHR supports research studies through our funding programmes, training and supporting health researchers and providing world-class research facilities. We also support dialogue between the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all, and facilitate the involvement of patients and the public to make research more effective.

Last year (2017/2018) the NIHR supported 461 studies in cardiovascular disease. The NIHR supported these studies through our funding programmes and our research schools and units. We also support cardiovascular disease research through our research infrastructure and our training and career development awards for researchers.

Cardiovascular effects of lifelong exercise in veteran athletes

The Veteran Athlete's Heart is a cardiovascular research study set up with the support of the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The aim of the research was to study the cardiovascular effects of lifelong endurance exercise in the veteran athlete.

While there is little evidence to suggest that intense exercise in the first three decades of life harms individuals, research has found that veteran athletes’ show a higher prevalence of atrial fibrillation (an uncontrolled and irregular heartbeat) compared with sedentary individuals of a similar age. Small studies have also shown an increasing occurrence of myocardial fibrosis and atherosclerosis (a thickening of the heart valves) in these individuals.

The U-shaped curve, which shows the relationship between exercise intensity and adverse impacts on an otherwise normal heart. In short, moderate exercise is better than no exercise, but vigorous exercise may be harmful in some individuals.

Treating cholesterol with anacetrapib

The Randomized EValuation of the Effects of Anacetrapib through Lipid modification (REVEAL) trial is the largest study to have looked into the possible benefits of boosting good cholesterol and further lowering bad cholesterol to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The aim of the study was to discover if treating cholesterol with a new drug called anacetrapib (taken in combination with a statin) would drive down the risk of heart attacks, deaths from heart disease and other vascular diseases.

The results concluded that anacetrapib lowers the risk of heart attack and related cardiovascular complications among patients who are receiving intensive statin treatment.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network helped to recruit participants from 63 sites across England exceeding its targets by some 30 percent in the international study.

Speeding up access to vital clot-busting stroke therapies

Patients with acute ischemic stroke – caused by a blood clot in the brain – have a critically limited time to receive clot-busting (‘thrombolytic’) drugs if they are to avoid suffering  permanent brain damage. In dispersed rural environments, factors such as longer ambulance travel times to hospital add considerable complexity to local decisions around how to provide the best possible stroke care.

Researchers supported by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) South West Peninsula have used advanced computational modelling to address the challenge of how to provide early thrombolysis to patients with acute ischemic stroke. The simulation provided information on improving patient care at virtually no cost, such as paramedics calling ahead to specialist stroke care units, allowing the units to prepare for the patient before the patient’s arrival.

A new solution for abnormally fast heart rate

An estimated 125,000 people in the UK are affected by supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) - a common heart rhythm disorder causing periods of abnormally fast heart rate. In emergency departments in the UK SVT is treated using the Valsalva manoeuvre, which involves breathing out moderately forcefully against resistance. Although safe, the success rate of the Valsalva manoeuvre is low (5-20%), and the alternative involves a dose of adenosine - an unpleasant experience that some patients report as a feeling of impending death.

A team funded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme addressed whether a simple posture change - raising a patient’s legs - whilst delivering the Valsalva manoeuvre could increase the success rate.

The results of the REVERT study demonstrate a safe, cost-free and more effective way of treating SVT with just a simple change to current practice. The difference in success rate between the standard and modified manoeuvre resulted in a substantial reduction in the number of patients needing other emergency treatments, particularly adenosine.