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Impact of obesity on cardiovascular hemodynamics

University of Sydney & Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District

  • Cardiovascular Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant
Organ System:
  • Cardiovascular
Date Funded:
  • 22 May, 2020
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. Faraz Pathan

Project summary

A life span study of the impact of obesity on cardiovascular hemodynamics.

What is the issue for NSW?

In 2014-15, 11.2 million (2/3 Australians) were overweight or obese. Obesity directly impacts heart function and in the long-term leads to various cardiac problems including: heart attacks, heart failure and irregular heart rhythms. The tools available to detect the impact of obesity on the heart are limited and often miss early disease. Current guidelines and recommendations for both our diagnosis and treatment of heart disease often ignore patients with obesity.

What does the research aim to do and how?

This project aims to improve survival and quality of life in people with obesity, by allowing for recognition of currently undiagnosed heart disease.

The team will use recent advances in how images of the heart are taken (cardiac imaging) to detect very early signs of heart disease. Dr Pathan’s team will use tools including recent advances in ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging of the heart to pick up early heart disease, allowing them to treat patients and their family members before it is too late.

This research will focus on impact of obesity in the fetal stage (unborn baby) to adult life and comprehensively provide a life span view of obesity on the developing and adult heart.

The questions we are looking to answer are:

  1. how does maternal obesity and diabetes impact the heart of the fetus?
  2. is there evidence of early heart disease in adolescents and adults who are obese?
  3. what is the impact of obesity on the hearts of adults and can they be reversed with weight loss surgery?

The areas serviced by Nepean Hospital face significant socio-economic disadvantage and a disproportionately higher burden of obesity. This is necessary local research which will first and foremost benefit the local community, as well as having an impact worldwide.