More than US$28 million awarded for new atrial fibrillation research centres to improve patient outcomes

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The American Heart Association has announced research grants totalling more than US$28 million to the scientific teams that will create a new research network focused on understanding the causes of atrial fibrillation (AFib). The new knowledge they discover will provide a basis to generate more effective ways to treat and prevent the disease.

Among the six institutions within the research network, the Sarah Ross Soter Centre for AFib at the Cleveland Clinic will focus on questions in AFib care, seek new therapies, and test behaviour change programs that show promise in preventing worsening symptoms from AFib.

Two Decision-making and Choices to Inform Dialogue and Empower AFib patients (DECIDE) Centre grants were also awarded. The DECIDE Centres will create or adapt shared decision-making tools, validate them and directly compare and evaluate the decision tools and approaches in patients with AFib and their clinicians. The two DECIDE Centres are:

  1. The Patient-Centred Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) – American Heart Association (AHA) DECIDE Centre at the University of Utah will study the effectiveness of approaches in patient-centred care to empower patients to become active participants in their own care. PCORI invested US$2.75 million to support this centre.
  2. The Joe and Linda Chlapaty DECIDE Centre at Stanford University will create an innovative shared decision-making pathway that includes a patient-designed interactive tool, clinician education and patient coach training.

Three additional centres focused on AFib research are:

  • Boston University, Boston: This Centre will examine AFib risk and stroke risk in patients with AFib, with a specific focus on African American individuals. The goal is to advance AFib precision medicine by predicting individuals at risk and providing insights essential to develop effective prevention, treatment, and management strategies.
  • Northwestern University, Chicago: Here, researchers will explore how AFib develops and how it causes stroke.
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville: This Centre will conduct studies to test how inflammation may cause and worsen risk across patient populations.
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