Congratulations to our members who were recently named as winners of the Heart Foundation’s Strategic Grants program for their research: 
  • A/Prof Sarah Zaman – 2020 Women in Heart Disease Grant
  • Prof Diane Fatkin – 2020 Predictive Modelling Strategic Grant
  • Prof Tom Briffa – 2020 Secondary Prevention Strategic Grant

Thank you to the Heart Foundation for providing these stories*

A/Prof Sarah Zaman – University of Sydney

Project title: Prevention of Heart Disease in Women with Non-traditional Risk Factors and High Calcium Scores.

Currently, doctors use risk calculators to decide who is likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. However, these calculators often get it wrong in women – particularly women with female-specific heart disease risk, such as high blood pressure in pregnancy or early menopause and, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. This study will determine if a simple CT-scan, that measures calcium in the heart arteries, can help decide which women benefit from early preventative medications and lifestyle changes. If successful, our study could help prevent a large number of heart attacks and strokes in Australian women.

Prof Diane Fatkin, University of New South Wales

Project title: Is genetics useful for predicting outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm abnormality and often leads to heart failure or stroke. Our research will investigate how a person’s genetic makeup might predict the risk of developing AF and its complications. This will generate new knowledge about the causes of AF and how genetic information can be used to improve and personalise therapies for individual patients. Importantly, we will assess patient attitudes to t genetic testing and the value and acceptability of receiving positive (or negative) genetic test results.

Prof Tom Briffa, University of Western Australia

Project title: Assisted self-management to prevent new life-threatening events for all in need after a heart attack.

This study will establish the value of moving to a personalised, focused approach of preventing new attacks compared to routine care after a heart attack. It allows survivors to identify the key aspects to reducing their risk, the approach taken, goals set and maintaining engagement with health professionals in the three months after leaving hospital. The benefits of a personalised approach lay in both the potential for improved management of risk factors for an individual together with greater uptake and completion of the intervention across the entire population at risk. For each additional person completing personalised care it will translate to the reduction of up to 1 death and/or heart attack/stroke per improved risk factor. The study will clarify the optimal method of providing care post heart attack, inform international clinical practice, guidelines, policy and improve the outcome of heart attack survivors everywhere.

*Thank you for the Heart Foundation for providing these stories (See full Grant Recipient stories on the Heart Foundation’s website here: fal.cn/3fOC9 )