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Developing novel treatments for HFpEF by studying vagal control of the heart

60 months
Approved budget:
Dr Julia Shanks
Associate Professor Rohit Ramchandra
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship
Lay summary
Heart failure affects 80,000 New Zealanders annually. Half of these patients have what is known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). In contrast to other heart conditions, there are currently no effective treatments for HFpEF. Individuals with HFpEF struggle with simple physical activities, such as climbing the stairs. Developing therapies for HFpEF that can improve physical activity has the potential to dramatically improve the personal, social and economic burden of HFpEF in Aotearoa. I have recently shown that a nerve that controls heart function, the cardiac vagal nerve plays an important role in altering heart function and blood flow during exercise. Combining my background in the neural control of the heart and pre-clinical studies, I will investigate how these nerves alter the heart during exercise in HFpEF to develop novel treatments. This clinically relevant research has the potential to positively impact the lives of patients and their whanau.