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Approved research

Understanding the haemodynamic determinants of hypertension in UK Biobank

Principal Investigator: Dr Ye Li
Approved Research ID: 51560
Approval date: January 14th 2020

Lay summary

High blood pressure (hypertension) is the single most important cause of death and disability the adult population. Traditionally it has been thought to be due to a problem with the arteries through which the heart supplies blood to the tissues in the body. However, recent research suggests that an important cause may be the way the heart pumps blood into the body. Both properties (the way the heart pumps and the characteristics of the arteries) were measured in UK Biobank. By analysing this data using methods we have previously developed, we will be able to find out whether altered pumping by the heart or altered properties of the arteries is the main cause of hypertension. This will help us understand the causes of hypertension better. In particular, it will add value to the genetic data that has been obtained in UK Biobank. A large number of common genetic variations have been found to be associated with blood pressure but it is not known exactly how these act. Looking to see which of the properties of the heart and arteries they are most closely associated with will help us to identify how each gene variant exerts its effects on blood pressure. The project will also help us to understand how best to treat hypertension. Most treatments are directed toward dilating arteries but if we confirm that the heart is responsible (or responsible in part) for hypertension, a different approach to treatment may be more effective.