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Competition Results 2017

For the third consecutive year, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) is proud to announce the results of the 2017 CCS Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Research Award competition. This program, created to encourage clinical, health systems and population health research in the field of AF, has become an important initiative supporting CCS members and early-career investigators.

Once again, 3 awards of $100,000 have been granted. Since 2015, CCS and our program partner, the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Pfizer Alliance, have invested over $900,000 in this program.

All proposals are reviewed by an independent peer review committee comprised of CCS members. We are pleased that all projects are being funded to their full recommended amounts. Awards include funds for salaries, supplies, and/or equipment. The start date for these awards is July 1, 2017. Principal Investigators are named below. Co-Applicants and/or additional authors may also be associated with these grants.

Principal Investigator: Husam-Eldin Mohamed Abdel-Qadir MD, University of Toronto

Proposal Title: Atrial fibrillation after early stage breast cancer: incidence, risk factors, pathogenesis, and impact
Award amount: $100,000
Term: July 2017 - December, 2019

Summaries of funded project

Multiple studies suggest an increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) after some cancers. However, the relationship of AF and breast cancer is unknown. This study will describe the incidence, predictors, and impact of AF after breast cancer. We will identify all women aged ≥66 years diagnosed with early stage breast cancer between January 1998 and March 2016. Each patient will be matched to 3 women of the same age without a history of cancer. We will determine and compare the incidence, characteristics and treatments of AF in both groups. In a second comparison, breast cancer patients developing AF will be matched to another group of women of the same age without cancer, and who developed AF in the same calendar year. We will compare rates of heart failure, other cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and diabetes between the two groups. Finally, we will compare the risk of stroke after AF between the two groups of women with AF, while adjusting for known factors that affect the rate of stroke. We will use the appropriate statistical methods in our analysis to account for differences in mortality rates between groups. This work will provide the first comprehensive description of the burden of AF, its predictors, and its consequences in the important and rapidly growing population of breast cancer survivors.


Principal Investigators: Rafik Tadros MD, Montreal Heart Institute
Proposal Title: Atrial fibrillation-associated cardiomyopathy: genetic basis and prognostic implications
Award amount: $100,000
Term: July 2017 - July 2019
 
Summaries of funded project

Co-occurence of atrial fibrillation (AF) and left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction is a clinically challenging situation both in terms of diagnostics and therapeutics. Cardiomyopathy can trigger AF and rapidly conducting AF can impair LV systolic function in a patient without overt structural heart disease. Reversal of LV dysfunction after adequate control of the arrhythmia is the hallmark of what is now coined ‘tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy’. Despite the relatively high prevalence of atrial fibrillation associated cardiomyopathy (AFaCM), data on prognosis and predictors of long term complications are sparse. More importantly, why certain individuals would develop AFaCM while others with the same AF characteristics maintain normal LV function is unknown. Our central hypothesis is that rare variants in dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) genes are associated with susceptibility to develop AFaCM. The proposed research aims are 1) describe long-term morbidity and mortality of patients presenting with AFaCM compared to patients with AF without cardiomyopathy, and 2) Assess whether rare variants in DCM genes are associated with susceptibility for LV dysfunction during AF, worse long-term prognosis and higher incidence of familial DCM. Using provincial hospitalisation and mortality databases and targeted next generation sequencing, we strive to better understand the natural history of LV dysfunction in AFaCM and the individual susceptibility to this clinical presentation. The confirmation of a shared genetic basis of AFaCM and DCM would result in a paradigm shift with important consequence for the management of the patient and his family.


Principal Investigator: Ratika Parkash MD, QEII Health Sciences Center/Dalhousie University
Proposal Title: Reversal of atrial substrate to prevent atrial fibrillation (RASTA-AF)
Award amount: $100,000
Term: July 2017 - July 2019
 
Summaries of funded project

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a major health problem, with a prevalence of 0.4-1% of the population. It results in high healthcare costs and significant morbidity, especially for patients with severe symptoms. Prevention of AF has not been a focus of past treatment strategies. It is well known that age, body mass index, alcohol use, sedentary behaviour, hypertension and sleep apnea are risk factors for AF, most of which are modifiable if targeted appropriately. Prior cohort studies have demonstrated a beneficial effect on AF symptom burden and severity with various forms of risk factor management. Most of these are cohort studies performed at single centers. Novel AF therapies have revolutionized stroke prevention as well as arrhythmia treatment in the last decade, yet long-term recurrence of AF remains high. There is an urgent need to perform a multicenter, collaborative study to determine whether modification of the atrial substrate and prevention of AF with aggressive risk factor treatment and rhythm control, is possible.


 

Congratulations to the 2017 awardees, and thank you to all applicants.

With thanks to the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Pfizer Alliance for the providing financial support for this important program.


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