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Local researchers receive funding for arrhythmia studies

Posted: 01 September, 2015

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Drs. Jason Andrade and Andrew Krahn were among six researchers who have received two and three-year strategic research grants totaling over $2.4 million from the Canadian Arrhythmia Network (CANet).

JAndradeDr. Jason Andrade received $450,062 (with $1,667,000 matching funds) for his study “Early Invasive vs. Delayed Intervention for Atrial Fibrillation,” which aims to determine whether early intervention with cryothermal ablation is associated with significant (i.e. >20%) reduction in atrial fibrillation arrhythmia burden, symptoms, and healthcare utilization.

This project is an international, multi-center Canadian-led randomized controlled trial comparing early (“first-line”) catheter-based pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) using cryothermal energy to first-line anti-arrhythmic drug therapy on the clinical outcomes of arrhythmia recurrence, arrhythmia related symptoms and quality of life, and hospitalisations.

IMPACT: The study has the potential to fundamentally change the way in which we approach atrial fibrillation. For example, on a patient perspective, early ablation may result in a reduction in AF recurrences, with improvement in arrhythmia related symptoms, quality of life, exercise tolerance and functional capacity, mental health, and work performance. On a system/societal perspective, this may reduce health system burden by reduced emergency room visits and hospitalisations, reducing health care utilization (direct cost), and “absenteeism” resulting in increased productivity (indirect cost).

Krahn 2013.2Dr. Andrew Krahn along with University of Toronto’s Dr. Robert Hamilton, were awarded $249,165 (with $355,000 matching funds) for the program, “The Canadian Genetic Heart Rhythm (CGHR) Network: Innovative Strategies to Reduce the Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death Using Novel Clinical and Population Approaches.”

The objective of the program is to harness the expertise available across Canada to develop a strategy that will prevent deaths from Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) by connecting patients and their family members, health policy decision-makers, collaborators from medical industry, and health care providers to work together to help reverse the tide of the ravaging effects of SCD. The overall goal of the program is to engage those known to be at risk, identify new patients that are at risk, understand their values and preferences, and develop detection and prevention strategies.

IMPACT: The program will effectively identify young adults and children with cardiac channelopathies and hereditary cardiomyopathies who are at risk of SCD; treat and reduce SCD in this population in a cost-effective manner.

The grants will fund research that brings together clinicians, engineers, social scientists, industry and government, centered on patients – in an effort to reduce premature deaths and suffering caused by heart rhythm disturbances – or arrhythmias.

Arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, syncope, and other common heart rhythm disturbances affect millions of Canadians resulting in early unexpected deaths and reduced quality of life. Arrhythmias are projected to be the leading cause of death in Canada by 2020.

CANet is funded through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program. The Networks of Centres of Excellence Canada is a joint initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Industry Canada.

Read the full list of recipients and news release here.