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Approved Research

Novel liver biomarkers, clinical risk scores, and cardiovascular risk prediction in diverse ethnicities: data from the UK Biobank

Principal Investigator: Dr Thomas Agbaedeng
Approved Research ID: 69986
Approval date: November 15th 2021

Lay summary


Heart disease remains a major public health burden and the leading cause of death worldwide. Thus, there is a need for earlier and better detection of individuals who may be at risk. Several methods are used to assess the likelihood of developing heart disease. However, these methods are limited, because they mostly require information about the medical history of an individual, which may not be useful in determining the risk of a patient. Moreover, studies show that two individuals with the same conditions are not equally susceptible to heart disease. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new factors that could improve the assessment or estimation of an individual risk for heart disease. Recently, liver disease has been linked with greater risk of heart disease. There is also a proposal that the extent of scarring of the liver in patients with liver disease can be used to estimate the risk of heart disease. Nevertheless, the potential of these new biological markers from the liver for identifying individuals at high risk of heart disease is not well studied.

Research Aim(s)

We are proposing to comprehensively study the effect of liver biomarkers on the risk of heart disease.

1- To comprehensively study the effect of liver markers (liver enzymes, liver fatty index, liver fibrosis score, and liver inflammation) on heart disease risk and its mortality

2- To investigate whether methods based on liver markers can improve the way the risk of heart disease is determined

Public Health Impact

The transition from the late 20th century to 21st century has seen the shift in disability and deaths from infectious diseases to non-communicable disease. Consequently, the general consensus is that heart disease prevention is necessary for reducing non-infectious diseases. Indeed, heart disease contributes to >30% of all premature deaths globally and, hence, the urgent need to identify at-risk individuals. Importantly, the current protocol would have significant impact on identifying patients who would otherwise be missed by traditional methods and help with early initiation of preventive therapies and strategies. The proposed study will help improve monitoring of patients undergoing treatments for heart disease.


This project is expected to be completed within 12 months of reception of UK Biobank data.