Cardiovascular Disease research in Thames Valley

Cardiovascular Disease research in Thames Valley


Cardiovascular disease
basically relates to anything related to the heart and blood vessels,
so this can be a real range of topics. We could deal
with everything from heart attack, which is very common and a major problem for
people through to trying to prevent disease; understanding blood pressure as a
factor which affects the blood vessels through to other problems such as heart
failure to inherited heart disease, so the range is very broad and also
learning about links between what’s going on with the heart and how that
impacts on later risk of brain disease like dementia and stroke.
The topics we kind of cover can range from very young people with heart
problems through to very old people with with heart problems. I think cardiovascular
disease remains the the major cause of mortality and morbidity with the NHS and
I think because heart disease is so broad and covers so many different areas
and problems. Actually there’s a lot of work going on trying to understand how
you prevent disease, how you treat disease and how you manage the long-term
consequences of has someone having had a problem with the heart.
I think the NHS obviously as a result of that, because there’s a lot of it around,
it’s a major budget cost to the NHS to manage those problems. It can be things such as the cost of someone collapsing
with a heart attack, how do you bring that person to hospital and manage that
person acutely? They may be very unwell take up a lot of resources through to
people who have problems throughout their life that require management in
different ways. Some of our big areas of interest, we have work within
interventions so working within catheter labs and angiograph suites with people who
are putting in stents who are putting in devices like pacemakers and ICDs. We
have a lot of studies around imaging, so using cardiovascular magnetic residents and echocardiography and CT, to better understand how we can
image and manage disease, through studies was looking at prevention of disease, so
trying to manage blood pressure and risk cholesterol and other factors
better in younger people when those problems are first starting to emerge
and including through to cardiovascular problems during other key moments in
life, so pregnancy problems actually a lot of cardiovascular disease during pregnancy and how do you manage cardiovascular disease at that point and also the long-term risks of having had problems
with your heart during these critical moments of life.
One of the nice things about cardiovascular research and cardiology and
generally in the heart disease is that it’s very much focused on how you can
manage something to either make people better or find the effective way so they
actually they can live their lives healthily, even if they do have a disease
so and one of the great things about what we’ve been able to achieve within the area
is that actually we can manage heart disease very effectively with different
approaches so actually people can feel healthy and well even though they do have
underlying diseases. That doesn’t take away the need to be able to manage that
disease, to find new ways and better ways of managing that disease, which is
why we keep doing all the research. But the aim is to try and create a situation
where patients can live full and healthy lives despite having had a pacemaker or
having had a stent or being on medications to control their blood
pressure, so that you can actually deal with all those issues and let them
continue living a good life. I think cardiovascular research has always been
quite central to cardiovascular from early stage, so some of the treatments we
use routinely now and we think of the standard treatments like statins and
aspirin and things which they widely used have saved millions of lives. The
reason we use those is because 10 years ago, 20 years ago, there
were huge mega research trials which delivered the evidence to say actually
these things really do work and so the bedrock of what we do in cardiovascular
has been based off research and always has been. There are still big
developments coming through in cardiovascular which is fascinating, so
there are new medications coming through in other areas of cardiovascular disease.
There are new ways of how we actually treat cardiovascular disease, so some of
the big changes which are on the horizon are things like the newer technologies
which allow us to use artificial intelligence technologies to better
manage and interpret images, which tells us new ways of looking after patients. So
these kind of augmenting what we’re doing at the moment with new
technologies, which we’re learning about at the moment are going to be where
things really change in terms of process. Now the key thing about those things is
we will need research and trials to understand whether they’re improving
things for patients and so actually we have a job as researchers to trial those,
prove they work for patients and pick the best ones are just going to
the biggest difference of patience over the next year or two. I think as with
in cardiovascular we’re going to see the trials coming through which are
different potentially from the trials we were doing a few years ago but we’ll
still need to work with patients delivering those trials in effective
ways to do things better.