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Approved Research

Finding subtypes of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction using imaging genetics and machine learning on graphs

Principal Investigator: Dr Jonas Richiardi
Approved Research ID: 80108
Approval date: January 12th 2022

Lay summary

As many as 50% of patients coming to the hospital with heart failure (HF) have a heart that still can pump out enough blood - we say that their ejection fraction (EF, amount of blood coming out of the heart compared to blood coming in) is preserved. These patients suffer from a potentially fatal syndrome called called HFpEF. To date, no specific treatment has shown improved prognosis for HFpEF. Somewhat paradoxically, patients with lower ejection fraction (reduced EF - HFrEF) fare better and several therapeutic options are available. We belive this is because they form a more homogeneous group of patients - they all have symptoms we know how to treat.

The main aim of the project is therefore to understand better what makes HFpEF patients similar to another, so that we may look for potential therapies that would work on a subset of HFpEF patients. Since UK Biobank is a large dataset, we can find participants that are very likely to suffer from HFpEF by looking at indicators like obesity, hypertension, or specific heart conditions. Once we have identified them, we will be able to quantitatively compare people with HFpEF and group them together using clinical data (blood pressure, medications, etc), cardiac imaging data (e.g. parts of the heart may be larger or smaller), and genetic data (e.g. some people may have genetic mutations that increase their risk of cardiovascular disease). We can also group them by looking at mortality data, and then tease out which factor (clinical, imaging, genetics) was similar between people that survived longer.

This project will run over four years and combine UK Biobank data with new, in-depth data we will acquire in two Swiss hospitals, focusing specificially on HFpEF patients. This will allow us to make sure that our findings are not unique to people enrolled in the UK Biobank data, but can also be verified in confirmed patients in another country.

At the end of the project, we expect to have a much better understanding of the different types of HFpEF patients, which will help us find better ways of treating them. By looking at already approved drugs, this project will also help us identify possible candidates drugs for larger drug trials, that may work on some groups of HFpEF patients.