Atrial fibrillation (AF) is found in 3% of the UK and European population and is a major driver of stroke, cardiovascular hospitalizations and death. Our research into mechanisms, complications, and treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) has transformed the evidence-based management of patients with AF nationally and internationally.
In particular, the “CHA2DS2VASc” stroke risk score has been adopted world-wide to identify patients with AF requiring oral anticoagulation for stroke prevention. Further work has demonstrated that several of successful therapies for heart failure, e.g. beta blockers, are rendered less effective in patients with concomitant atrial fibrillation, illustrated the variability of current approaches to rhythm control therapy, and defined a clinical role for short-term therapy with antiarrhythmic drugs. We contribute to innovative, integrated approaches to AF care, supported by online tools. This research has informed current guidelines for rate and rhythm control management in AF. Our research has also informed current concepts to improve AF management through integrated care of educated, empowered patients.
Even on optimal therapy, cardiac death, heart failure, acute hospitalizations, and cognitive decline remain common in AF patients. To improve this situation, stratified approaches to the management of patients with AF are needed. Our AF research teams bring together clinical and non-clinical academics with expertise in epidemiological research, clinical trials, and translational science, psychologists and scientists with expertise in patient-reported outcome research, and basic scientists with expertise in animal models and single cell physiology.
We work closely with the major NHS trusts in Birmingham (UHBFT, SWBH, and BWC NHS trusts), other institutes in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, with the Colleges of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the College of Life and Environmental Sciences. The creation of Institute for Cardiovascular Sciences (ICVS) in 2015, recent recruitments and University investment into research infrastructure from advanced light microscopy to analysis of large clinical data sets has created a critical mass for translational research into the major drivers of atrial fibrillation from complex molecular interactions to patient benefit.