In Australia, atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiovascular cause of hospitalisations, outnumbering heart attacks and heart failure. Heart rhythm specialist Associate Professor Dennis Lau is researching ways to improve outcomes in AF patients, thanks to a Mid-Career Fellowship from Australian Heart Research!
AF is a condition that affects the heart, making it beat out of rhythm. Along with causing palpitations, fainting and chest pain, patients with AF are at an increased risk of experiencing a life-threatening stroke.
The good news is A/Prof Lau and his research group have pilot data showing that treating obesity and other risk factors is associated with a reduction in AF symptoms and can potentially save lives!
“Urgent attention must be directed towards the management of AF to improve patient outcomes and reduce the burden on the individual sufferer and our healthcare system,” A/Prof Lau said.
A/Prof Lau has recruited almost 200 AF patients for the randomised study comparing aggressive weight and risk factor management to routine standard of care.
“All patients in the intervention group will see a physician and nurse to manage AF risk factors – obesity, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, diabetes, alcohol excess and physical inactivity. They will keep a lifestyle and food journal to help them achieve improved risk factor control,” A/Prof Lau said.
“If the results prove that using aggressive weight management practices decreases the symptoms of AF, this could be a huge step in the treatment of AF. The potential reduction in hospitalisations and the need for procedures will have significant savings on our healthcare budget.
“This study will be of international significance and will have immediate and direct impact on clinical practice and guidelines.”
With this research, A/Prof Lau also aims to help transform the quality of life for patients and reduce their burden of AF.
This lifesaving work has only been made possible thanks to the support from our generous donors. If you would like to support researchers like A/Prof Lau, click here: Donate Now.