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Libin Institute members receive CANet grants

Submitted by dawn.smith on Wed, 03/29/2017 - 11:00am
Wed, 03/29/2017 - 10:45

Dawn Smith/Libin Cardiovascular Institute


Two separate projects led by Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta members are receiving Strategic Research Grants (SRG) from the Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet) worth more than $1.7 million.

CANet made the announcement on March 28.

Dr. Satish Raj, MD, is leading Community Alternatives for Syncope Management in the Emergency Room (CASMER) alongside patient lead Mary Runte, and is pleased the project will receive $1,389,476 in CANet funding over the next three years with matching funds of $563,166.

“It is an exciting day,” said Raj, a world-renowned syncope (fainting) expert. “This is a great opportunity to try to improve care for our syncope patients.”

Steven Wilton, PhD, is leading Acute Myocardial Infarction Quality Assurance Study Canada (AMIQA Canada) alongside patient lead Robert MacLachlan and Dr. Jaimie Manlucu of Western University.

He is pleased that his project is receiving a CANet grant of $342,549 with matching funds of $385,500.

“The AMIQA team is thrilled to receive this funding from CANet and our other partners, including the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta,” said Wilton, explaining the funding will allow for better understanding of how patients who have suffered a heart attack and are at risk of sudden cardiac death are identified and treated across the country.

That information can then be used to design interventions to reduce gaps in care.

CANet awarded a total of $2.8 million in RSG to five projects. Matching funds add an additional $2.8 million to the research projects, which bring together clinicians, engineers, social scientists, industry, government and patients.

One of CANet’s goal in awarding the SRGs is to reduce premature deaths and suffering caused by heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias).

“The projects that are receiving funding will help CANet to meet our strategic goals to decrease hospital admissions and improve the quality of life for millions of Canadians with arrhythmias,” said Dr. Anthony Tang, CEO and scientific director of CANet. “We are grateful to our partners for providing the matching funds to help advance this important research.”

With CASMER, Raj and his team aim to provide a better and seamless alternative to emergency department assessments for patients with syncope (fainting) who are at low risk of adverse outcomes.

The project has numerous components such as the creation of reliable, accurate digital resources for patients; risk-assessment tools and training for EMS on how to assess syncope patients to potentially provide alternatives to the emergency room; and creation of an outpatient “syncope haven.”

They results of the interventions will then be studied to assess their impact on patients and the health-care system.

The goal of CASMER is to reduce the burden of recurrent vasovagal syncope, restore quality of life in patients, and lessen the burden on the health-care system.

The program activities will also build national networked capacity in research, training and career development, and patient engagement in research.

Raj noted the project requires collaboration between numerous academic departments, health agencies, health-care providers, advocacy groups and others.

“It is a fairly large project to better understand the patient’s journey with syncope and see if we can improve it,” said Raj.

Wilton’s project, AMIQA Canada, aims to address a gap in patient care when it comes to identifying a persistently reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) after myocardial infarction (MI), which predicts the development of sudden cardiac death.

LVEF is readily identified, yet clinicians failed to reassess LVEF in more than fifty per cent of post-MI patients.

Wilton’s project sets out to establish a nationwide interactive registry designed to assess variability in current practice for post-MI sudden cardiac death (SCD) risk stratification; optimize post-MI follow up, facilitate the implementation of guideline-based therapies, and provide a platform to evaluate novel interventions aimed at reducing SCD events.

The impacts of this project are numerous, but include fewer SCD, improved quality of care, and a sustainable infrastructure for CANet researchers, government agencies, and commercial partners that may help further reduce the number of SCD.

Todd Anderson, director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, is pleased with the funding announcements.

“The electrophysiology group in Calgary have been national and international leaders over the past two decades,” said Anderson. “We are delighted that Dr. Raj and Wilton will be leading important national projects to improve the quality of electrophysiology care and generate innovative research in their fields. The CANet team is an important national resource to create world-class academic care in our country.” 

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