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12th September 2021

Fighting For Millions Of People Living With Atrial Fibrillation

Associate Professor Christopher Wong   atrial fibrillation

Thanks to Australian Heart Research’s generous donors, cardiologist and researcher Associate Professor Christopher Wong is able to help people with Atrial Fibrillation better manage their condition.

People like Danny. Danny was returning from a European holiday in 2018 when he faced an unexpected diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation (AF), a life-threatening form of heart disease.

Danny and his wife Sandy

Danny is very lucky to be alive after his heart tried to stop several times over the course of four days while wearing a heart monitor as instructed by his cardiologist.

Before he knew it, he was rushed into hospital for emergency heart surgery, which thankfully restored his heart to a regular rhythm by stopping and restarting his heart, ultimately saving his life.

Atrial Fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmic disorder where the heart doesn’t beat normally. With 1 in 4 people experiencing AF in their lifetime, research is extremely important.

Cardiologist and researcher Associate Professor Christopher Wong has already made significant findings into treatment management for AF, which has been recognised worldwide.

“Our research has demonstrated three common risk factors for Atrial Fibrillation including high blood pressure, diabetes and excess weight, which leads to the formation of scarring in the heart. This scarring facilitates the electrical short circuits that allows Atrial Fibrillation to develop,” A/Prof Wong said.

“Our prior work on treating risk factors with diet and lifestyle has been extremely successful, such that it is now standard of care by cardiologists worldwide and included in all international clinical guidelines.”

Despite these findings, A/Prof Wong still needed to do more. And now thanks to your support, he’s been able to investigate a new medication to treat AF’s risk factors!

“All existing medications used specifically for Atrial Fibrillation only manage symptoms or complications and thanks to the support from Australian Heart Research, we are able to investigate a new medication as a potential treatment for these three risk factors,” A/Prof Wong said.

“Our trial is a very in-depth and long-term study, so this funding means we can direct our focus on the research, easing the pressures of spending time on grant applications.

“Time is of the essence; AF is now a more common cause of hospital admissions in Australia than heart attacks and it is estimated that there would be at least 70 million people in the Asia Pacific alone with AF by 2050.

“Our research could help the many millions of people with this condition not only in Australia, but worldwide.”