Skip to main content

Defining atrial muscle dysfunction for identifying patients with atrial cardiomyopathy

Collaborating organisations listed below.

  • Cardiovascular Collaborative Grants
Date Funded:
  • 25 May, 2023
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Professor Liza Thomas
  • Professor Jamie Ian Vandenberg
  • Associate Professor Eddy Kizana
  • Dr. Pierre Qian
  • Associate Professor Eleni Giannoulatou
  • Dr. Adam Hill
  • Dr. Will Lee
  • Dr. Nicholas Jackson
  • Associate Professor Stuart Thomas
  • Dr. Sebastiano Barbieri

Project Summary

This Project aims to Identify patients at risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation) by identifying early changes to predict atrial dysfunction.  Additionally, the aim is to find new therapies to treat the underlying cardiomyopathy rather than waiting for them to develop atrial fibrillation.

What is the issue for NSW?

Atrial Fibrillation is the most common clinical arrhythmia and is a major health care and economic burden; it is the second most common reason for cardiovascular admission to hospital (exceeded only by coronary artery disease.) The incidence of atrial fibrillation is projected to double in the next twenty years. To overcome this growing healthcare burden we need to tackle the problem at its source, by identification and treatment of the underlying atrial cardiomyopathy and thereby prevent patients developing atrial fibrillation in the first place.

What does the research aim to do and how?

This study will develop a novel algorithm, combining established clinical factors with electrocardiographic and cardiac imaging parameters, to diagnose patients with atrial cardiomyopathy. Patient genetics will also be evaluated to develop polygenic risk scores.

Using in vitro organoid models, this study will also develop a high throughput drug screening platform to identify new (or repurposed) drugs to treat atrial cardiomyopathy and prevent atrial fibrillation from occurring in the first place.

This research will:

  • Establish a clinically useful definition for atrial cardiomyopathy
  • Establish cohorts that can be evaluated in future for defining the natural history of atrial cardiomyopathy
  • Identify therapeutic targets to improve treatment of atrial cardiomyopathy, preventing its progression to atrial fibrillation.

Collaborating Organisations:

Western Sydney Local Health District

The University of Sydney

Westmead Hospital

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

South Western Clinical School, UNSW

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney

Hunter New England Local Health District

The University of Newcastle

The University of New South Wales

The Centre for Big Data in health research, UNSWS

Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District