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Promoting OMICS for the non-invasive screening for subclinical arterial disease in heart transplant patients
Belgium (BeMSA) - KU Leuven, Leuven
Research Unit Hypertension and Cardiovascular
Type of Research Project
- Clinical Project without Laboratory work
What is the background of the project?
The prevalence of heart failure (HF) among adults living in developed countries is ~2%, amounting to 15 million in Europe with a 5 year mortality rate of 50%. Heart transplantation (HTx) is the treatment of choice for selected terminally ill HF patients not responsive to medical treatment. Each year >5000 HTx procedures are performed worldwide. HTx has a 1 year survival rate of 85% and results in substantial symptomatic improvement in 90% of survivors 3 years after HTx. The overall likelihood of death or retransplantation is 7% 5 years post HTx. Despite this undeniable success, the development of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) remains the Achilles heel of HTx. CAV diffusely affects vessels of different size and function: the epicardial and intramyocardial arteries, arterioles and capillaries. By 10 years post HTx, CAV occurs in up to 50% of patients. Thus, CAV is a common cause of graft dysfunction, which frequently progresses to graft failure and death. Only a small number of patients with CAV make it to retransplantation, because the accompanying comorbidities and the shortage of donor hearts.
What is the aim of the project?
The aim of the study was to identify novel biomarkers associated with asymptomatic arterial disease early after HTx and with underlying molecular pathophysiology, first in a cross-sectional and next in a longitudinal exploitation of data.
What techniques and methods are used?
Macrocirculatory structure and function will be assessed (i) Central haemodynamics, including central blood pressure, systolic augmentation and the carotid-radial and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocities, will be tonometrically measured by the SphygmoCor device and software (AtCor Medical Pty., West Ryde, New South Wales, Australia). A pressure-based triangular decomposition algorithm implemented in the SphygmoCor software, version 10, allows quantifying the forward and backward pulse pressure amplitudes. (ii) The ankle-brachial index and brachial-ankle, brachial-heart and aortic pulse wave velocities can be automatically determined in the VP-2000 device (Omron Healthcare. Ltd., Kyoto, Japan). (iii) Using a Vivid E9 ultrasound scanner interfaced with the appropriate transducer, the renal pulsatility and resistive indexes and the carotid intima-media thickness and distensibility can be measured. Post-processing will be done by the EchoPac software, version 4.0.4 (GE Vingmed, Horten, Norway).
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The students will be trained in the arterial phenotyping including: central blood pressure, systolic augmentation, the carotid-radial and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocities; the ankle-brachial index and brachial-ankle, brachial-heart and aortic pulse wave velocities; the carotid intima-media thickness and distensibility. Moreover, students will be further trained in Post-processing of the aforementioned phenotypes. Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) 9.4 will be used for statistical analyses. Students will learn to perform t-test, linear regression model, logistic model.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Preliminary readings will be distributed before the starting of this lab visit. The student will be guided by the Prof. Zhen-Yu Zhang and Dr. Dongmei Wei on statistics and study design.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a poster - The student will prepare an abstract - The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
The student preferably will be fluent in English. Being familiar with basic statistics is an asset. This sentence fits better on language spoken.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system - Students in biomedical fields
- Phenotypes collections will be similar as in the following study. The difference would be a different cohort involvement in this project; which focus on post heart transplantation patients. Blood Press. 2015;24(5):275-83. doi: 10.3109/08037051.2015.1053220.
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